Council thanked by local businesses after £18 million worth of COVID grants distributed since April

Council thanked by local businesses after £18 million worth of COVID grants distributed since April

Over 1,500 businesses in South Holland who are struggling due to the economic impact of the Coronavirus pandemic have benefited from various Government grant schemes worth over £18.4 million distributed by South Holland District Council.

Businesses from all sectors including horticulture, retail, manufacturing and market traders were invited to apply for grants of up to £25,000. Of those businesses that the council has been able to support, many owners said that the money has been vital in helping to retain jobs, offset lost income and to prepare their business for an economic recovery.

Despite the large numbers of businesses who received financial help, some businesses unfortunately missed out due to high demand and a Government-set criteria. In an effort to get more funding to local businesses, the Council wrote to the Secretary of State for Business Alok Sharma MP to ask for the removal of a ring fence on how much funds district councils could use for grant funding. The Council continues to closely monitor the initiatives coming from central Government so that South Holland businesses can be supported as much as possible during the coming months.

Councillor Nick Worth, deputy leader and portfolio holder for growth and commercialisation, said: “Since the beginning of the Coronavirus pandemic, teams from across the Council have been working flat out to ensure local businesses received grant funding as quickly and efficiently as possible.

“We used every avenue to find those within the district who may be entitled to funding, aiming to help as many eligible businesses as we could. The £18.4 million we distributed through various Government grant schemes went directly into our local economy to support businesses against the impact of the Coronavirus pandemic and aiding their recovery.

“Whilst we weren’t able to help every business across the District, the demand for funding far outweighed what was available to us from central Government. The fact the Council wrote to the Government asking for flexibility in how grant funding could be spent demonstrates our commitment to supporting our local economy as much as we can.”

Following successful grant applications, several businesses have agreed to share their comments on the process and the benefits of receiving the funding (whilst remaining anonymous):

“Hearing from you a few weeks ago was probably the best news we received this year. Not only did the grant help us come out of the overdraft but it covered all the insurances we had to pay in August and outstanding invoices that we accumulated over the last 3 months.

“The grant was more used to keep us a float and the business alive. The winter crop is looking good and even though the grant money is less now after covering the factors above we have put aside funds to cover labour costs for when the crop is ready to be harvested in November.”

“The grant really helped with our cash flow, March and April are our busiest months and when the business is most exposed with a large sales ledger.  Due to CV over these months we got really stretched as we had supplied a huge amount of product into customers who suddenly had significantly and unexpected reduced sales.  Our business is generally well financed but the grant ensured we could bridge any cash flow gaps and keep continuity with our 16 permanent staff without having to make any permanent cut backs. We thank local government for supporting our business.”

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