Local support package announced for businesses in the Lancaster district

Lancaster City Council has agreed a £1million plan to sustain and strengthen the local economy.

Last Thursday (April 30) the city council’s Cabinet signed off on a package of new measures to provide help, advice and support to businesses in the Lancaster district.

It will mean support is available for any business that needs advice on how to combat the pressures they may have found themselves under during the coronavirus pandemic.

Councillor Dr Erica Lewis, leader of Lancaster City Council, said: “Supporting local businesses has been a focus of the council’s work throughout the pandemic. As the coronavirus lock down took effect, council resources were reallocated to strengthen our economic development team so they could deal with the thousands of enquiries that were to come.

“To support businesses, the council made advances of the government’s grants available while we waited for the money to arrive from the government.

“We also took steps to make sure we had collected the necessary information from them so we could pay out the grants as quickly as possible, and to date have paid out £23.7 million to more than 2,000 businesses.

“We were, however, troubled by the number of businesses missing out on government support for one reason or another. We wanted to design a support package that would not only focus on those otherwise missing out on help, but which would also look towards the long-term sustainability of businesses and our local economy.

“In keeping with the council’s focus on partnership working and strengthening the local economy we will be looking for local organisations to contribute their expertise to the scheme we are building, and I’d like to thank them all in advance for their support.”

Businesses come in all shapes and sizes, and each will have its own particular set of needs.

The local business support package is designed to be flexible and focus on individual requirements, which will be identified during a ‘diagnostic’ of the business.

Elements of support could then include coaching and mentoring, help to access funding, advice on financial planning, support for digital developments, and small recovery and resilience grants for those not eligible for government assistance.

To find out more and to start the ball rolling, businesses are being asked to complete an online enquiry form, which is available by clicking on the ‘business support’ tab on the webpage Lancaster.gov.uk/business.

• Further good news has come in the form of an announcement from the government of more money for businesses that may have so far missed out.

The local business grant funds scheme will receive a 5% top-up aimed at closing the support gap for businesses that don’t qualify for the existing business rates relief.

This funding is aimed primarily at small (less than 50 employees) businesses with ongoing fixed property-related costs.

The amount to be received by the council, along with the qualifying criteria, is set to be confirmed later this week, following which details of how to apply will be announced.

Last updated: 04 May 2020