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Council backs struggling city businesses with £10m virus aid package

PUBLISHED: 17:54 09 April 2020 | UPDATED: 17:54 09 April 2020

Norwich City Council has given businesses almost £10m in support payments. Pictured, city council leader Alan Waters. Photo: Ian Burt

Norwich City Council has given businesses almost £10m in support payments. Pictured, city council leader Alan Waters. Photo: Ian Burt

Norfolk and Waveney’s councils have awarded millions of pounds worth of support to firms which have seen trading plummet due to the coronavirus outbreak.

Carl Smith, Great Yarmouth Borough Council leader is appealing for businesses to get in touch over coronavirus concerns Picture: Ella WilkinsonCarl Smith, Great Yarmouth Borough Council leader is appealing for businesses to get in touch over coronavirus concerns Picture: Ella Wilkinson

Local authorities were granted government cash to support small businesses facing uncertainty following the national lockdown.

And in the past week, councils have given aid packages to firms by the thousand across the region.

Norwich City Council has given businesses almost £10m in support payments, while Broadland and South Norfolk Councils have each awarded over £13m in aid.

It comes after Great Yarmouth Council also reported awarding more than £13m to 1,000 firms.

READ MORE: ‘This is a public health emergency, not a public holiday’ - plea for Norfolk to spend Easter at home

The Department for Business (DBEI) described the payments as “a lifeline to businesses who are struggling to survive due to the shutdown” and urged councils to ensure funds were paid out as swiftly as possible “to support struggling businesses”.

Councils will be reimbursed by the government for support paid to businesses in their districts, up to an amount set by the DBEI.

The figures for Norfolk and Waveney’s local authorities are:

• Breckland - £30,588,000,

• Broadland - £26,242,000,

• East Suffolk - £101,526,000,

• Great Yarmouth - £35,808,000,

• West Norfolk - £47,864,000,

• North Norfolk - £65,502,000,

• Norwich City - £39,062,000, and

• South Norfolk - £30,838,000.

The city council’s £9,900,000 of payments equates to around 500 grants, with a further 2,500 set to be processed in the coming days.

READ MORE: ‘Please call and we will help you’ - councils’ words to the vulnerable during coronavirus outbreak

Council leader Alan Waters said: “Our team are working incredibly hard to make sure businesses and residents get the financial support they need during this very difficult period.

“We are delighted that the first vital payments have now been paid to help small businesses and retail businesses in the city.”

The Labour group leader added: “If you have not had your payment yet please bear with us.

“We are working very hard to process the grants as soon as we possibly can.”

And Great Yarmouth council leader Carl Smith previously said he was “pleased we’ve managed to process over nine hundred applications in less than a week” and added: “We’re happy to see more applications coming in daily from eligible businesses”.

Businesses are also eligible for further government support as part of a scheme exempting retail, leisure and tourism businesses from business rates in 2020-21.


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