The Conservative-led Essex County Council has confirmed it will allocate £2.2m of the funding it received when the county entered Tier 2 restrictions to allow local businesses to make adaptations to their premises and/or operations. This is in addition to the £29m in business support funding allocated directly to district, borough and city councils.
Cabinet Member for Economic Growth, Cllr Tony Ball said: “We understand the pressure that the introduction of additional COVID restrictions has put on local businesses, and we will continue to do all we can to support those in need during these unprecedented times.”
Feedback from businesses, and in particular the hospitality and leisure sectors along with other local businesses who have been most affected, has been that they want a quick, simple, targeted and consistent approach to be taken in releasing grant funding.
“This package of funding will significantly support local business, and particularly the hospitality sector, across the county. District, Borough and City Councils will now work with local businesses to allocate and distribute these grants. The ECC adaptations funding will enable businesses such as those in the hospitality sector to apply for funding to support their plans for reopening."
ECC has distributed the £2.2m to district, borough and City Councils so that they can administer a streamlined grant scheme to support local businesses who are impacted by the COVID restrictions. Businesses will need to apply for the grants via their local district, borough or city council websites, from next week (23rd November onwards). Businesses are advised to check their local district, borough or city council website from next week onwards.
A further £2.2m which the council received as part of the Tier 2 restrictions funding was allocated to welfare support for the county’s most vulnerable residents.
The grants will address the hardship many businesses have faced as they have either had to close or who have been able to trade but have been severely affected by the restrictions, regardless of whether they pay business rates or not. The ECC funding will allow businesses to adapt their businesses to generate income while restrictions remain in place so they are able to reopen when they are removed. The County Council has also relaxed highways restrictions on businesses adapting outdoor areas across the ECC area.
The ECC funding will award eligible businesses up to £1,500 for adaptations, in addition to the £3,000 in support available from district councils based on their size, their sector and the degree of loss or hardship.