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West Suffolk Council to pay out £66million to support businesses across district

Businesses across West Suffolk have been thrown a £66 million lifeline to help them survive the coronavirus crisis.

Around 2,300 eligible businesses will be contacted by West Suffolk Council over the next few days and encouraged to take up grants of £10,000 which have been made available under the Government's Small Business Grants Fund.

The council will also contact business owners at another 610 properties who will be eligible for grants of £10,000 or £25,000 under the Retail, Hospitality and Leisure Fund.

West Suffolk House....PICTURE: Mecha Morton.... (32386223)
West Suffolk House....PICTURE: Mecha Morton.... (32386223)

In addition to the around £32million in grants, the council will also pay out more than £34 million in rate relief, which is available to eligible businesses.

A council spokesman said that, having spoken to more than 100 businesses over the last week, the council's team have listened to concerns and point people towards available support and advice.

It will also raise certain issues, such as help for self-employed people and businesses not eligible for grants, with Governement officials.

Cllr John Griffiths, leader of West Suffolk Council said: “These are challenging times, but we stand ready to work with and support our businesses to help them survive and adapt to this unprecedented challenge and the huge pressure that it places on them and us all.

“We have redeployed staff across the Council to ensure we can provide advice and access to grants to all eligible businesses as quickly as possible.

“We’ve been listening to business concerns, helping people find where the support is available, and over the next few weeks we will be encouraging and supporting thousands of West Suffolk businesses to take up some £32m in business grants.

“We are already helping hundreds of businesses save millions of pounds through rate relief – the rate relief for retail, leisure, hospitality and pubs is being applied automatically and represents a further £34m of support.

“We are also actively considering further measures that the council can take to support businesses and will announce these later. Our priority is to keep everyone as safe as possible, while listening and talking to businesses, providing advice and most crucially ensuring that we get the grants to eligible businesses as quickly as possible.

“This is an international emergency and an extraordinary time but we in West Suffolk, and our communities including local businesses have a strong tradition of working together and it is this ethos that will see us pull through, and indeed thrive once this present crisis has passed.”

Cllr Susan Glossop, portfolio holder for growth, has also agreed £50,000 towards funding the Bury St Edmunds and Beyond Destination Management Organisation in its work to promote the area after the coronavirus pandemic.

Businesses can see the council's updates at www.westsuffolk.gov.uk/c19business