As we continue our journey towards normality, rebuilding the economy and supporting our businesses is a priority focus for Buckinghamshire Council.
The council has played a key role in ensuring that national support for businesses is matched to those who have been impacted by the pandemic. Thousands of businesses were required to cease trading and thousands more, while not required to close, were severely impacted by the lockdown restrictions.
Since the beginning of the COVID emergency, the council has deployed teams to design and implement several business grant schemes, linking these together to provide as comprehensive a net as possible to support our business community through these very difficult months.
To date, more than £140 million has been paid out to businesses including support which was implemented in line with the initial lockdown and a second major round of grant schemes which coincided with the lockdown announcements at the end of last year.
As part of the bundle of recent grant schemes, the council was allocated a discretionary pot of money to support businesses which was the Additional Restrictions Grant (ARG). For this, the council received more than £21m to distribute in assistance. The scheme launched quickly and over the course of six months ran four rounds of funding, awarding over 11,000 grants which supported more than 3,500 businesses.
Cllr Martin Tett, Leader of Buckinghamshire Council, said:
“As a council, we prioritised getting as much support to as many businesses impacted by the COVID crisis as we could. We designed our Additional Restrictions Grant programme with simplified eligibility for quick processing and in many cases supported businesses and self-employed people that had fallen through the other support ‘nets’ that had been put into place.
“Buckinghamshire Council was a leading authority nationally in the speed and volume of grants that were allocated as well as one of the top councils in fully allocating our funding pot the quickest, getting the support out to the businesses that needed it.”
The final payments for the Additional Restrictions Grant are being made this week and next.
On the application form, Buckinghamshire Council advised that the amount awarded for March 2021 would be determined by the remaining money in the ARG fund provided by central government. As a result, all final payments have been set at 85% of the amount made for February 2021. This approach enables support to be offered to all who applied and were eligible, which means they can distribute the available funding fully, and ensures a fair distribution of the remaining funding across as many businesses as possible.