The Government has provided Cannock Chase Council with £2.9 million to be distributed to businesses in the district affected by trading restrictions during the pandemic.
And from this month the council will be offering one-off grants of £2,000 to businesses that do not have commercial premises and have suffered a loss of income of at least 30 per cent, as part of an extension to its discretionary Additional Restrictions Grants (ARG) scheme.
ARG will now be made available to businesses such as regular market traders, taxi licence holders, suppliers to firms that are closed due to Covid-19 and those who are not rate payers.
The move was welcomed by senior councillors at a cabinet meeting on April 1.
Councillor Tony Johnson, cabinet member for economic development and planning, said: “This will make a big difference. Many local residents and businesses have contacted the council asking for a widening of the existing scheme.
“Further top-up finding from a pot of £425 million will be provided to local authorities that can demonstrate their allocations have been spent by June 30. This is a change of policy from what we were previously told in the autumn, when we were told that our allocation would have to last until March 2022. That is no longer the case.
“We are acutely aware businesses are struggling and officers are working to make sure this money is received. ARG application forms for the new schemes will be on the council website no later than April 15.
“Thank you to councillors who have raised this issue and have pointed out we should be looking after the self-employed and people working from domestic premises.
Councillor John Preece, cabinet member for corporate improvement, said: “Can I thank you for that extra support. There has been a national campaign for people that for some reasons were ineligible for the grants provided so far – particularly those who work from home.
“Hopefully this will provide some relief to those businesses.”
Businesses that have previously received a Local Restrictions Support Grant and continue to be forced to close by regulations are set to receive further funding from the council. They will not need to re-apply for this grant.
Re-Start Grants are expected to be paid out by the end of April to eligible businesses that were required to close during lockdown. Non-essential retail outlets are set to receive up to £6,000, while leisure, hospitality and accommodation businesses are in line for up to £18,000.
For more information on support available to businesses visit the coronavirus and council services section at cannockchasedc.gov.uk