Ipswich businesses to get up to £18k handouts to reopen after Covid
- Credit: Charlotte Bond
One-off cash handouts of up to £18,000 could be given to Ipswich businesses to help them cope with the fallout of the coronavirus crisis.
The pandemic has hit many businesses' takings hard, with non-essential retail forced to close for the first quarter of this year and large parts of 2020.
Even though furlough payments - where the government covers up to 80% of people's wages - and schemes such as Eat Out To Help Out have help cover some losses, many firms are still struggling.
To help, Ipswich Borough Council says it is administering a Restart Grant scheme brought in by the government to help businesses get back on their feet.
Eligible businesses in non-essential retail could be entitled to up to £6,000.
But firms in the hospitality, accommodation, leisure, personal care and gym sectors - widely considered to be the hardest hit - could get up to £18,000.
Ipswich council said it would be contacting eligible businesses to invite them to complete applications.
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To be eligible, firms have to be in the Ipswich council area, paying business rates and have been on April 1.
Grants would be paid from the week beginning April 12, the week non-essential retail is due to reopen under the government's roadmap out of lockdown, subject to the council receiving the funds from the government.
Earlier this year, Ipswich council agreed to support independent town centre businesses with a £500,000 package as part of its additional restrictions grant (ARG) scheme.
The money could mean retailers getting thousands of pounds each month to cover costs between November 2020 and March 2021 - subject to state aid rules being met.
"We have been working with several businesses over recent weeks to design the scheme and have contacted potential eligible businesses so they can confirm their interest and eligibility," the council said.
As the ARG money was announced, Dove Street Inn landlord Ady Smith said the hospitality industry had been "decimated and blamed", even though many pubs have invested heavily in becoming Covid-secure.
"We're not looking to make anything," he added. "We're just looking to survive, so when this is over we're able to go back to normal."