New hardship grant launched for Staffordshire businesses

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Biddulph municipal offices.

New covid hardship grants to support Moorlands businesses who are not eligible for help from the mandatory or discretionary schemes have been launched by the district council, as latest figures show over £31m has now been paid out to local businesses.

Eligible business range from taxi drivers to small businesses in the arts.
Businesses have been at the forefront of the impact of the health pandemic, with many being forced to close or seeing a significant reduction in their income due to the various measures that have been put in place to control Covid since March last year.

Staffordshire Moorlands District Council has received in excess of £36m to distribute to businesses affected by the three periods of national lockdown and the tiering system. So far, more than 4,5000 payments have been made to local businesses totalling more than £31m – and a new one-off grant payment has now been launched to help those that haven’t been eligible for mandatory or discretionary grants.

Coun Sybil Ralphs, leader of the Council and Cabinet member for regeneration and finance, said: “While several grant schemes for businesses affected by covid are now open, some have still fallen through the gaps because they aren’t eligible under Government guidelines for the mandatory or discretionary grants.

“We have allocated £730,130 of a one-off £2.6m Additional Restrictions Grant pot so far as part of our existing discretionary scheme. However, we are very aware that there are people and businesses that haven’t qualified previously such as home-based businesses. So I am delighted to be able to launch our Hardship Fund payment to address that here in the Moorlands.

“Anyone who thinks they are eligible can now apply via the application form on our website and I would strongly urge people do so so we can get this funding out to those who really need it as quickly as possible.”

The one-off payment covers the period from 4th November to 31st March and is aimed at:
• Licenced local taxi drivers – who also live in the Moorlands and who have not had a discretionary grant since November;
• Home based businesses – including those in the arts, cultural and events sectors and self-employed tradespeople who are based in the district and have ongoing overheads;
• Essential traders with a permanent shop or market lease agreement who have experienced a significant drop in income due to reduced footfall;
• Small businesses in exceptional circumstances who are liable for business rates and at risk of failure, where closure will involve making ten or more people redundant.

Coun Ralphs added: “Covid has affected everyone in some way but businesses have had to cope with periods of full lockdown and the local restrictions imposed by the tiering system.

“This new hardship payment means we can reach out to even more local individuals and companies, including those excluded from some of the previous schemes, to offer what we know is essential financial help. If you’re eligible, please come forward and make an application.”

For more information about the hardship grant, and other financial help available to businesses, go to staffsmoorlands.gov.uk/coronavirus-business-financial-support.