As we find ourselves in the middle of another national lockdown, this week I wanted to make sure that all local businesses know that there is financial support available. Central government has again given district councils the responsibility to issue new national grants to support local businesses.
The first, a ‘Local Restrictions Support Grant,’ is a one-off grant for the businesses which were open prior to lockdown but were then required by law to close on the 5th November. These businesses include non-essential retail, leisure, personal care, sports facilities and hospitality businesses. If eligible, a fixed single grant will be paid to cover the 28-day period, depending on the rateable value of the business’ property.
The other is called the ‘Additional Restrictions Grant.’ This is a discretionary grant scheme for non-rate paying businesses which have been severely impacted by the lockdown period but have not necessarily had to close by law.
The application forms, eligibility and criteria are now live on the Mendip District Council website. If you are a business owner, please go online for information on how to apply: www.mendip.gov.uk/businessgrants.
Help is out there, but there will always be those seeking to take advantage of people in difficulties at times like this. Please be vigilant because scams are on the rise as cybercriminals use the coronavirus to escalate their illegal activities. Close to home, I have heard reports this week that people in Mendip have received emails from fraudsters offering council tax relief as a way to get hold of people’s bank details and personal information.
Stay alert. And if in doubt, get in touch with the council directly if something is worrying you or doesn’t ring true.
Now on to an update regarding ‘Stronger Somerset’ – the county’s district councils’ strategy to reform local government. Last week we formally submitted our outline business case to central government and we are working around to clock to send in the full proposals at the beginning of December.
The detail of the strategy is being developed in full and we are engaging with and listening to key groups and experts such as NHS leaders, GPs, charity sector groups, with regards to how we deliver true ‘localism.’ By this we mean that we are looking at ways to enable community groups, town and parish councils to manage more local services.
As ever, I am here if you have any questions. I can be contacted through my Facebook page, @Ros.Wyke, or you can send me an email: firstname.lastname@example.org. And remember, the Somerset Coronavirus Helpline on 0300 790 6275 is there if you need any help or support during the coming weeks.
Written by Cllr Ros Wyke, Leader of Mendip District Council
Please get in touch either on my Facebook page @Ros.Wyke or you can send me an email: email@example.com.