Additional funding will be made available to local businesses in the New Year that have been affected by the Covid-19 pandemic. This will be a follow on to the successful Additional Restrictions Grant (ARG) schemes which were launched during 2021 to aid the recovery of businesses during and after lockdown.
Councillor Ian Albert, Executive Member for Finance and IT, explained: “We welcome the announcement of the new grants to hospitality and leisure businesses from central government.
“But we believe this will not be sufficient or spread widely across other sectors. This is too little to remedy the losses many businesses have already faced, nor will it provide adequate protection in the weeks and months ahead with probable additional restrictions on businesses hardest hit by the pandemic.”
The North Herts joint administration has written to the Chancellor, Rishi Sunak, in a letter signed by Leader of the Council, Cllr Elizabeth Dennis-Harburg, and Cllr Ian Albert for Labour, and deputy Leader of the Council, Cllr Ruth Brown, and Executive Member for Enterprise, Cllr Sam Collins, for Liberal Democrats.
Cllr Albert continued: “Our businesses, especially those in the hospitality sector like our local pubs and restaurants, as well as those in leisure, travel and personal care, and in business support like taxi drivers, are still struggling with the continuing effects of the pandemic. And with the recent rise in cases and uncertainty over the Christmas period, we want our local businesses to know that this additional money from North Herts Council will be available to them in the New Year.”
The funding will be available to business rate and non-business rate payers and has to be granted by the end of March 2022. More details, including eligibility, will be announced in early January.
We are already consulting with local businesses on what they think could be done to aid their growth and activities and how public bodies can support them. A tele-survey has been carried out in December by Team Telemarketing Ltd on our behalf – if you have not been contacted and would like to contribute please email firstname.lastname@example.org for a questionnaire. The results will inform our new economic development strategy and future business support activities.
Residents and community groups are also encouraged to take part in a short online survey – open until 21 January – so we can better understand the needs, challenges and aspirations of communities, as we all adapt to living with Covid, and begin to look beyond the pandemic.