COMBINED support worth nearly £12m has been made available to companies in the New Forest and Christchurch forced to close by the coronavirus lockdown.
New Forest District Council has been handed just over £3.6m by the government to distribute to eligible firms as grants of up to £3,000 to assist them during the latest phase of restrictions in England.
BCP Council, which covers Christchurch, is handing out £8.2m. Recipients including nightclubs and other venues that have been unable to operate at all since the first lockdown started in March, as well as those offering takeaways or click and collect.
To be eligible, businesses must have been open as usual before any restrictions were in place, provide services in person to customers from their premises, and have been registered for business rates before 5th November this year.
The amount from the Local Restrictions Support Grants (LRSG) scheme will be dependent on the rateable value of the business.
Properties with a rateable value of £15,000 or under will be eligible for grants of £1,334 per four weeks of closure. Those between £15,000 and £51,000 can gain £2,000, and those above £51,000 can apply for £3,000.
Cllr Philip Broadhead, BCP Council’s cabinet member for regeneration and economy, said last week: “I am pleased to announce that the application process for our Local Restriction Support Grant scheme is now live and I encourage you to check your eligibility and apply as soon as possible to receive your share of this available funding.
“I hope this provides some relief to local businesses who have been forced to close over the last few weeks.
“We remain committed to doing everything we can to support our resilient and varied business community. This will include a continued focus in the months ahead on critical areas and other key sectors that are vitally important to the success of our local economy.’’
In addition to the LRSG, £7.9m will be provided to BCP Council to issue Additional Restrictions Grants up until 31st March 2022. This will include a discretionary scheme, with the details currently being considered.