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£20 million paid out in lifeline to Worcester businesses

Grants

Nearly 1,500 Worcester businesses have received payments totalling approximately £20 million through three central Government COVID grant funds since the lockdown began in March.

Worcester City Council has processed payments to 1,435 Worcester businesses through the Small Business Grants Fund and the Retail, Hospitality & Leisure Grants Fund. A further 80 businesses have received a Discretionary Grant.

The Government has now announced that all three grant schemes will close on August 28, 2020.

Shane Flynn, Worcester City Council's Director of Resources, said:
"These grants have literally been a lifeline for many Worcester businesses. A wide range have received essential support – including hairdressers, estate agents, restaurants, hotels, cafes, mechanics, printers and recruitment agencies.

"The City Council has worked hard to turn around the very large volume of grants, and in many cases it has been possible to make payments just a few days after we have received a business's details."

Applications for the Discretionary Grants scheme closed on 30 June. The City Council expects nearly all businesses whose applications are successful to receive a grant by the end of September.

Some small businesses and those in the retail, hospitality and leisure sectors could be in danger of missing out on vital financial support because they have not yet provided the City Council with essential information.

Small businesses with a rateable value of up to £15,000 and operating businesses in retail, hospitality and leisure premises with a rateable value of up to £51,000 that have not already contacted the council need to act now. They are being urged to find out more information and to register.

Shane Flynn said: "Qualifying businesses simply need to make sure we have all the right information so that we can give them the financial support they urgently need. But the clock is ticking, as the scheme closes on August 28."

Many Worcester businesses will also be exempt from Business Rates for 12 months.

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