Essex County Council (ECC), together with city, district and borough councils, have announced a county-wide approach for businesses to apply for the support they need in the wake of the Covid-19 pandemic.
City, district and borough councils have already paid out over £320 million in grants to support businesses through the Covid-19 pandemic.
Additional grant funding of up to £7.2 million was announced by Essex County Council on 12 February focused on funding for small and medium-sized businesses which have previously fallen outside the scope of central government Covid-19 financial support schemes.
Following calls from businesses for simplicity and consistency on business grants schemes, all councils have worked together to create a county-wide approach for the county council’s additional grant funding and the £13 million discretionary grant funding administered by city, district and borough councils across Essex. The £13 million was provided by the government at the start of January 2021.
On 23 February the Leader of ECC also announced a further £2 million to economic development to focus on ensuring a successful reopening of the economy.
Essex County Council’s Cabinet Member for Economic Development, Councillor Tony Ball, said: “We heard clear feedback from business that they wanted simplicity and consistency across all parts of the county. I’m delighted all councils have been able to work together to ensure we can continue to support businesses and get funding to those who haven’t been able to access government schemes.
Following the government’s announcement on a roadmap to reopening, we will be developing further support to ensure the businesses of Essex can have the most successful summer possible.”
The following SME businesses can apply directly to their local authority to access funding:
- a business which forms part of the direct supply chain for hospitality, leisure or accommodation businesses including tourism
- a business which supplies non-essential retail
- a business which forms part of the direct supply chain for aviation businesses
- a business which directly organises, facilitates or performs at organised events
- a business which supplies to organised events
- a business that is not on the rating list that has been forced to close either due to mandatory restrictions or due to the temporary close of their host premises (including non-essential market traders)
- a business which can demonstrate a heavy reliance on the ability for people to travel
- any business which relies on close physical contact (e.g. personal care workers, hair and beauty, driving instructors, taxi drivers etc)
- limited company directors, financially impacted by Covid-19, who are not located in rateable premises and who cannot furlough themselves and continue to work to save their business.
ECC has also made £4.4 million of Essex Business Adaptation Grants available and all businesses impacted by Covid-19 can apply for funding of up to £1,500 to make adaptations to their businesses.
The grants can be used to help keep staff in employment, improve their business, and to ensure the health and safety of employees and customers. They can also be used to develop new operating practices such as home working, or to capitalise on new opportunities such as new click and collect, takeaway or delivery services.
Further support is available from the BEST Growth Hub which is helping businesses to understand the available grants. Telephone 0300 303 4864.
Businesses should visit their local authority website to apply and to check the full eligibility criteria and grant amounts available, or visit the financial support page on the ECC website for more information.