Bedford Borough businesses awarded £56million in COVID-19 support Image By Olivier Le Moal AdobeStock_168894985

Bedford Borough Council has released figures that show that it has awarded £56million of support to local businesses affected by the COVID-19 pandemic lockdown and restrictions.

This includes £29.5million in cash grants and £26.5million in relief from paying business rates, provided by the Government to support local businesses during the pandemic and administered by the Council.

The Council said that when the business support grant scheme ended on 30 September, it had provided £29.5million in cash grants to over 2,600 businesses.

Over 2,000 businesses received grants of £10,000 each, while a further nearly 300 retail, leisure and hospitality businesses received grants of £25,000 each.

The £29.5million also includes a discretionary grant fund. The Council used this to award grants from £250 to £10,000 to over 300 smaller businesses that would not otherwise have received business support.

Alongside these grants retail, leisure and hospitality businesses were given a business rates holiday by the government (the body that sets business rates). The Council said it had has awarded £26.5million in business rate relief to over 950 businesses.

Cllr Michael Headley, portfolio holder for Finance, said:

“Lockdown had a huge impact with many local businesses required to close, or follow restrictions to keep themselves and our communities safe.

“This funding offered a lifeline for businesses to keep going and we worked hard to make sure that as many Bedford Borough businesses as possible received this financial support.

“Council staff and councillors made extra efforts to make sure that businesses eligible for this government support were tracked down and contacted by whatever means possible, even when the premises were closed, so that they didn’t miss out.”

If anyone is having difficulty in paying business rates, they are urged to get in touch with the Council. Find out more at www.bedford.gov.uk.