Tuesday, December 8, 2020

News: Council outlines support for "excluded" Rotherham businesses


A special Cabinet meeting has been called by Rotherham Council to look at proposals to make sure families and small businesses get the support they need over the Christmas period.

Rothbiz reported last week that Rotherham had a £664k share of the Government's Additional Restrictions Grant (ARG) which is being passed on to local authorities to carry out a discretionary business support grant.

The money comes after campaigning from the likes of ExcludedUK, a grassroots volunteer-run not-for-profit organisation working towards bringing about an end to exclusions in the UK Government's Covid-19 financial support measures across all employment statuses, circumstances, professions and industries.

Rotherham councillors will discuss plans to support micro-enterprises and small businesses that are mobile or run from home. The scheme would also be open to people who are freelance and self-employed.

If approved, it will enable those businesses to receive discretionary grants of £500 – or up to £1,000 in some cases (subject to availability of funds).

The eligibility criteria are likely to include that the business/trader should be:

- Able to demonstrate financial hardship related to Covid-19 and/or the resulting government-imposed restrictions on economic activity
- Able to evidence significant ongoing business costs
- A micro or small business (fewer than 49 employees)
- Unable to access existing government business or self-employment support schemes

The Leader of Rotherham Council, Councillor Chris Read, said: "Whilst we hope this small grant funding will give a little relief to the self-employed or others who have fallen through the cracks of other business support funding, we are acutely aware that it is only a little bit of relief. That is why I’ve written to the Secretary of State for Housing, Communities and Local Government calling for a commitment to provide further support to areas like Rotherham, which have experienced a longer period of Tier 3 restrictions than most of the country.”

The proposals are set to be considered at a specially called Rotherham Council Cabinet meeting on December 10.

Images: RMBC


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