City businesses to share £3.5m lifeline money
More than three-and-a-half-million pounds will be handed out to city businesses as a lifeline during the coronavirus pandemic.
Hairdressers, estate agents, restaurants, mechanics, printers and recruitment agencies and more than 250 other businesses in Worcester will share around £3.575 million worth of much-needed grant money.
Worcester City Council is currently processing 267 grant applications from across the city with payments arriving in back accounts from today (April 6).
Anja Potze Fine Jewellery, based in Friar Street, is one of the first city businesses to receive the grant payment.
Owner Anja Potze said: “I think it’s brilliant, the way the government has stepped in so quickly to help businesses.
“Many Worcester firms were already suffering from reduced footfall following the floods, so this support is welcome and really vital.”
Grants of £10,000 are available to small businesses that already qualify for small business rate relief or rural rate relief.
Grants of £25,000 are on offer to retail, hospitality and leisure businesses with property that has a rateable value between £15,001 and £51,000.
Wright Staff Recruitment, based in London Road, confirmed the company had received the grant payment on Monday (April 6).
Managing Director Ross Wright said: “A heartfelt thank you to Worcester Council, and the government, for processing our grant request in record time.
“This cash injection really does help us when we need it most.”
Stephen Connelly, owner of ice cream sellers Bears Great Escapes, said: “The grant will keep us going for a period of time, and allow us to pay incoming bills.
“Without the grant, we would have had nothing”.
Shane Flynn, director of resources at the city council, said: “We are working hard to process all the grant payments as quickly as possible. There is no need to apply for a grant.
“Eligible businesses will receive a payment if they meet the criteria and we have their payment details. I’d urge all local businesses who are registered for business rates in Worcester and think they may be eligible, to register their details on our website so that we can be sure that the payments will reach them – funding is available to support you through this extremely challenging period.”
Businesses which are exempt from paying business rates for a year will be contacted directly by the council. New bills will be issued and payments already made will be refunded.
For more information visit www.worcester.gov.uk/coronavirus
To sign up for the council’s business newsletter email firstname.lastname@example.org
By Christan Barnett - Local Democracy Reporter