West Devon Borough Council has agreed to extend its financial support to hospitality and leisure businesses suffering during the national lockdown, while also allocating more than £300,000 of pounds to the borough’s economic recovery in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic.
At the Full Council meeting on Tuesday (February 17), Members decided to continue funding for the particularly popular LRSG (Open) scheme, a business grant supporting hospitality and leisure businesses.
A particularly high number of businesses have applied for the LRSG (Open) business grant. With the hospitality sector hit especially hard by lockdown and COVID-19 restrictions, the Council’s allocation of £585,779 for the scheme will likely not be enough to fulfil all the LRSG (Open) applications from across the borough.
The Council looked at how to increase the funding going out to businesses most in need and the additional funding needed to continue supporting businesses through the LRSG (Open) will come from the Council’s allocation of the Additional Restrictions Grant (ARG) of £1.6million. The ARG business grant scheme supports those that are not covered by other grant schemes.
Cllr Ric Cheadle, Lead Member for Enterprise, said: “Giving our businesses support during these difficult times has been critically important to us as a Council throughout the pandemic.
“We want to ensure that we continue to support those who have been hit especially hard. Ensuring funding for hospitality and leisure businesses remains in place will continue to provide them with a vital lifeline, while the economic recovery projects will provide ongoing support for all businesses in the months ahead.”
A further £320,000 will also be allocated to ensure a sustained economic recovery. The projects funded by this investment will aim to benefit all businesses, tourism and the high street has been made available for spending until March 2022.
A sum of £50,000 of ARG funding had previously been approved to be put towards the support of broadband rollout, with a further £50,000 being put toward business support measures such as Business Information Point.
In total, the Council has paid out over £5.1 million since November 2020 in business grant awards, which has been funded by the Government. Some businesses have even received more funding than they originally thought they were eligible for.
The Council’s focus is to pay out as much money as possible, to as many businesses as possible, as quickly as possible, while working within the rules set out. This does include some essential checks to avoid fraud.
With more than ten different Government grant schemes currently available, West Devon Borough Council is more than aware of how difficult and confusing applications can be. To help, the Council has created a much simpler process, which means that application forms will be fast to complete, process and pay.
The simplified application process also means that customers will be issued payments from any of the other available grants, or future ones that follow the same format, for which they are eligible.
The Council is encouraging businesses in need of financial grants within West Devon to come forward and apply through the much simpler process.
To find out more and apply for a business grant, visit: www.westdevon.gov.uk/covid19business