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West Suffolk Council to support local business to the tune of £66m

A council is urging businesses to take up £32m in grants to help them survive the coronavirus pandemic.

West Suffolk Council will also be providing them with a further £34m in rate relief.

The Bury St Edmunds-based council will be contacting an estimated 2,300 eligible businesses encouraging and supporting them to take up grants of £10,000 available under the Government’s small business grants fund.

It will also contact the business owners of another 610 properties which are eligible as part of the retail, hospitality and leisure fund under which grants of £10,000 and £25,000 are available. The level is decided by the business properties rateable value and businesses with multiple outlets will be eligible for more than one grant. Eligible businesses will also qualify for business rates relief.

Cllr John Griffiths, leader of West Suffolk Council
Cllr John Griffiths, leader of West Suffolk Council

In total West Suffolk Council estimates that it will be paying out over £32m in business grants fromApril 1. On top of this it will be paying out more than £34m in business rate relief.

Over the past week the council has spoken to over 100 businesses, listening to their concerns and signposting to all the available support and advice. Some of those concerns, such as help for self-employed people, for businesses not eligible for the small business grants and advice for large businesses, are being taken up by council representativeswhen they speak to Government officials to raise issues and concerns on behalf of local businesses.

“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," said council leader John Griffiths.

“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.”

The authority has set up a webpage which it is regularly updating, directing businesses to the various support that is available. It also includes contact details for the economic development team should business need advice. This can be viewed at www.westsuffolk.gov.uk/c19business