Worcester City Council is processing £3.575m worth of grant applications from local businesses, with payments arriving in bank accounts from today (6 April).
267 grants are being paid to a wide range of local businesses – including hairdressers, estate agents, restaurants, mechanics, printers and recruitment agencies.
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.
Anja Potze Fine Jewellery Ltd is one of the first Worcester businesses to receive the grant payment.
“I think it’s brilliant, the way the government has stepped in so quickly to help businesses,” said owner Anja Potze.
“Many Worcester firms were already suffering from reduced footfall following the floods, so this support is welcome and really vital.”
Wright Staff Recruitment Ltd confirmed that the company received the grant payment today.
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, owners of the Bears Great Escapes ice cream business, was among the first to apply.
“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,” he said.
Further details on the grants, and how to apply for them, is available at www.worcester.gov.uk/coronavirus.
Shane Flynn, Worcester City Council’s Director of Resources, said: “We are working hard to process all the grant payments s 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.”
Many Worcester businesses will also be exempt from Business Rates for a full 12 months. These businesses will all be contacted directly about the Business Rates relief scheme. Any that have already received bills will be issued with new ones, and any payments already made for 2020/21 will be refunded.