Councils urged to support businesses left out in the cold
By Rob Freeman | 3rd February 2021
Gloucestershire County Council and local authorities across England are being urged to follow the lead of Lincolnshire County Council by launching their own financial support packages.
The Lincolnshire authority has unveiled a £12million grant scheme for businesses which have not benefited from the Government's coronavirus support schemes and smaller businesses with no more than 50 employees.
And the Federation of Small Businesses is calling on other local authorities to follow suit in providing a lifeline for company directors, the newly self-employed and sole traders who have found themselves on the the wrong side of income threshold.
A support scheme for directors launched at the end of last month in Northern Ireland and the FSB has worked on proposals for how the UK Government can help business owners who have been left out of income support initiatives.
FSB national chairman Mike Cherry said: "Times are tough for small businesses and the self-employed.
"The latest round of restrictions have brought renewed disruption and mounting financial pressure, with balance sheets already in a much worse state than when the pandemic began. Current grants struggle to cover costs.
"It's great to see Lincolnshire County Council at the forefront, leading the way by offering this additional direct grant scheme, in particular to those that have not yet received any financial help."
He continued: "With the support of central government, we would like to see other local authorities following suit and creating their own schemes to ensure these left out groups elsewhere in the country are given the support that is so desperately needed.
"Of course, this is not an endless pot of money and £12million won't stretch to cover all businesses that need the funds. The UK Government needs to make sure it is stepping in, to help top-up funding where schemes are oversubscribed.
"While it should be up to local authorities which businesses would be eligible, we hope any council that follows Lincolnshire's example will look favourably and generously on those who have been able to claim little or no help so far."
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