£6.5m to help Lambeth businesses hit hard by coronavirus

By Rafi Mauro-Benady

A council has launched a £6.5 million fund to support businesses affected by coronavirus.

The first phase of Lambeth’s Economic Resilience Fund (ERF) will help support firms such as market traders, concession-based businesses, and businesses based in shared workspaces.

The cash injections will range in size from £1,334 to £25,000, depending on the size of financial impact suffered and the individual circumstances of the organisation.

To qualify for the grants, businesses and organisations will need to show they lost at least a 20 per cent of their income due to lockdown restrictions.

The cash injections will range in size from £1,334 to £25,000, depending on the size of financial impact suffered and the individual circumstances of the organisation.

Cabinet Member for planning, investment and new homes, Cllr Matthew Bennett, said: “The lockdown measures introduced in November and the ongoing restrictions continue to severely impact key areas of our local economy.

“We back the measures needed to contain the spread of the virus, but are equally committed to helping businesses get through this incredibly difficult period.

“Lambeth is home to a rich mix of independent businesses, small traders, creative enterprises and hospitality venues.

“They provide thousands of local jobs and are an important part in what makes our town centres, and Lambeth as a whole, so vibrant.

“We are proud to be taking a targeted approach to supporting these vital businesses through our Economic Resilience Fund.

“This builds on the work we have already undertaken to support businesses and protect jobs in the face of this unprecedented disruption to the economy.”

Syed Salim, 60, leaseholder of small business Union Supermarket in Claylands Road, Oval, welcomed Lambeth council’s scheme.

He said: “The extra funds would be really helpful.”

“I think it’s a good scheme, especially for the people who really need it.”

Should he qualify, Mr Salim said he’d use the extra funds to make his shop a “corona-free store.”

He said: “I’d make the shop a corona-free store with new shelving, new counters, and a cupboard counter.

“There are lots of things this shop needs, because I’ve just bought it.”

This first phase of £3.2million will be available from January 5 as direct grants.

A second £3.3million phase will follow later in 2021 and will include business support as well as further grants.

A total of £6.5million will support Lambeth’s businesses and is being funded by an Additional Restrictions Grant from central Government.

Applications for the ERF will open at 9am on January 5.

Due to the limited number of grants available, the fund will open for a limited time and will close three days later at 5pm.

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