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‘A lifeline’: More than £16.6m boosts small businesses hit by coronavirus

PUBLISHED: 17:18 16 April 2020 | UPDATED: 17:18 16 April 2020

East Suffolk Council's main headquarters in Lowestoft. Picture: Thomas Chapman

East Suffolk Council's main headquarters in Lowestoft. Picture: Thomas Chapman

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Grants have been handed out to more than 1,400 small businesses across east Suffolk during the continuing coronavirus crisis.

East Suffolk Council, which is processing the government’s relief grants, said it had contacted more than 7,000 businesses affected by the outbreak who may be eligible for funding.

More than £16.6m has been processed in business grants to 1,409 validated applications so far, out of “just under” 3,500 applications that have been received.

Craig Rivett.Craig Rivett.

A council spokesman said that since the government had announced its business grant package, staff had been “working hard to ensure local businesses are aware of the funding available to them” and how to apply for the much-needed financial support they are entitled to.

The spokesman said: “As part of this, the council has already contacted over 7,000 businesses who they believe may be eligible for the Small Business Grant Fund of the Retail, Hospitality and Leisure Fund and anyone who thinks they may qualify under the government’s criteria is encouraged to apply as soon as possible.”

They added that if all information provided as part of the application is accurate and up to date, payments would be processed in around five to six working days.

Earlier this month Great Yarmouth Borough Council delivered a lockdown lifeline worth more than £13.2m to small businesses hit by coronavirus, while Norwich City Council gave businesses almost £10m in support payments.

Craig Rivett, East Suffolk council’s cabinet member for economic development, said: “We know this is a very difficult time for a lot of our businesses, and we are committed to doing all we can to support them through this.

“We have received just under 3,500 applications to date, and our staff have been working extremely hard to process these and pay out the grants as fast as they can, as we know these are a lifeline to many businesses.

“So far, they have validated 1,409 applications and paid out just under £16.7 million.

“It is important to understand that these grants are not loans that will need to be paid back, and they can make the difference between a business closing or surviving.

“We want our businesses to come out the other end in the strongest possible position to recover, therefore, I urge all small and medium businesses who haven’t yet, to check if they are eligible for these grants.

“Even if you’re not sure, it is worth checking”.

The online form, and more details about how to apply with full eligibility criteria, can be found at www.eastsuffolk.gov.uk/covid-19-business-grant-funding

Information about the help and advice available for businesses during the COVID-19 outbreak can also be found at www.eastsuffolkmeansbusiness.co.uk/business-support/resources/covid-19/


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