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Small businesses hit by coronavirus crisis receive ‘lifeline’ boost

PUBLISHED: 10:55 12 May 2020 | UPDATED: 11:18 12 May 2020

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

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

Archant

A council has been praised for its support of businesses during the continuing coronavirus crisis after more than £50 million was handed out.

Grants have been distributed to more than 4,600 small businesses across east Suffolk with almost £53m paid out to support them during the pandemic.

As East Suffolk Council continues to support local businesses, Lowestoft Vision director, Danny Steel, has highlighted these efforts.

East Suffolk councillor Craig Rivett. Picture: Archant LibraryEast Suffolk councillor Craig Rivett. Picture: Archant Library

He said that businesses in and around the Lowestoft area had told him how the grants have saved them from having to close for good.

East Suffolk Council, which is processing the government’s relief grants, has received 4,638 applications from businesses eligible for the Government’s business grants scheme with £52,930,000 processed in business grants to 99.7 per cent of them – 4,621 in total.

Danny Steel, director of Lowestoft Vision. Picture: Nick ButcherDanny Steel, director of Lowestoft Vision. Picture: Nick Butcher

A council spokesman said this had been achieved “thanks to an additional push from staff around the council” who had joined the effort to contact local businesses in East Suffolk.

The council spokesman said: “Teams have been ‘mucking in’ to help get the important message out to local businesses who may be eligible but have yet to apply and this has involved calling over 1,800 businesses directly.

“Alongside this, the council’s Finance and IT teams have worked quickly to validate, process and pay business grants in to the bank accounts of eligible businesses as soon as possible.”

Mr Steel said: “I would like to offer my thanks to the East Suffolk team that have worked tirelessly to deliver the business support grants quickly and efficiently to the businesses in and around town.

“These are difficult times for all of us, times when we all need to work together for the greater good, and the East Suffolk officers and staff are showing the way.

“Very well done and thank you.”

Craig Rivett, the council’s cabinet member for economic development, said: “We know how important these grants are to local businesses, which is why council staff have been working very hard to make sure local businesses get the financial support they deserve and need.

“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.

“We would ask that those filing in the application forms to please include their bank details as this will speed up the process and mean we do not need to phone them to request details.”

■ If any businesses think they are eligible for the grants, visit www.eastsuffolk.gov.uk/covid-19-business-grant-funding/


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