New Covid hardship grants to support High Peak businesses who aren’t eligible for help from the mandatory or discretionary schemes have been launched by the Borough Council – as latest figures show over £35m has now been paid out to local businesses.
Businesses have been at the forefront of the impact of the health pandemic with many being forced to close or seeing a significant reduction in their income due to the various measures that have been put in place to control Covid since March last year.
High Peak Borough Council has received in excess of £40m to distribute to businesses affected by the three periods of national lockdown and the tiering system. So far, over 4,500 payments have been made to local businesses totalling more than £35m – and a new one-off grant payment has now been launched to help those that haven’t been eligible for mandatory or discretionary grants.
Councillor Damien Greenhalgh, Deputy Leader of the Council and Executive Councillor for Regeneration, Tourism and Leisure, said: “Whilst several grant schemes for businesses affected by Covid are now open, some have still fallen through the gaps because they aren’t eligible under Government guidelines for the mandatory or discretionary grants.
“We have allocated £680,000 of a one-off £2.6m Additional Restrictions Grant pot so far as part of our existing discretionary scheme. However, we are keenly aware that there are people and businesses that haven’t qualified previously such as home-based businesses. So I am delighted to be able to launch our Hardship Fund payment to address that here locally in the High Peak.
“Anyone who thinks they are eligible can now apply via the application form on our website and I would strongly urge people do so so we can get this funding out to those who really need it as quickly as possible.”
The one-off payment covers the period from 4 November 2020 to 31 March 2021 and is aimed at:
- SME businesses in exceptional circumstances – who are liable for business rates and at risk of failure where closure will involve making ten or more people redundant
- Home based businesses – including those in the arts, cultural and events sectors and self-employed tradespeople who are based in the Borough and have ongoing overheads
- Essential traders – with a permanent shop or market lease agreement who have experienced a significant drop in income due to reduced footfall
- Licenced local taxi drivers – who also live in High Peak and who have not had a discretionary grant since November
Councillor Anthony Mckeown, Leader of High Peak Borough Council, said: “Covid has affected everyone in some way but businesses have had to cope with periods of full lockdown and the local restrictions imposed by the tiering system.
“Financial support is critical to help them through these challenging periods and I am absolutely delighted that we have, so far, allocated more that £35m in funding to thousands of local business across the High Peak.
“This new hardship payment means we can reach out to even more local individuals and companies, including those excluded from some of the previous schemes, to offer what we know is essential financial help. If you’re eligible, please come forward and make an application.”