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Council leader welcomes new £9.5 million fund for ‘forgotten businesses.

Sefton Council Leader, Cllr Ian Maher has welcomed the new, £9.5 million Liverpool City Region fund to support ‘excluded and forgotten’ in retail and hospitality sectors.

Cllr Maher said: “We know businesses in Sefton’s hospitality sector have been hard hit by the Government’s COVID restrictions and this fund is an important potential new source of funding for some of those which have so far been overlooked by national schemes or previously haven’t been eligible.

“We will be announcing details of the new fund and how to apply very soon.”

Believed to be the first of its kind in the country, the fund will be open to small and micro businesses in the, hospitality and leisure sectors, including some of those excluded from national support schemes like the self-employed, sole traders or home-based.

Local supply chain businesses in the sector are now also eligible for the first time and there will also be support for businesses in non-essential retail.

The funding is the latest round of the Liverpool City Region Combined Authority’s £40 million COVID emergency fund which was first announced when the City Region was placed in increased Covid-19 restrictions in October.

The announcement comes as political leaders from across the North and London step up pressure on the Government to address the needs of the 3 million people still excluded from national Covid-19 support packages.

Cllr Maher added: “In his Spending review, we need to see the Chancellor Rishi Sunak need to  echo the City Region’s action by broadening the eligibility of businesses that qualify for national support schemes from which so many have been excluded.”

Announcing the funding Steve Rotheram, Metro Mayor of Liverpool City Region, on behalf of the LCR Council Leaders and Mayors, said: “We are doing everything we can to protect as many local jobs and businesses as possible, who are under threat from the impact of Coronavirus.

“This latest round of local funding will be open to the sorts of small and micro businesses that have so far had to get by without any help from national government. Thousands of people depend on these businesses for their livelihoods and they are at the very heart of our communities.

“However, we remain deeply frustrated that, although we can now provide support for more businesses in the, hospitality and leisure sectors locally, we still do not have all the funds we need to support everyone excluded from national support schemes.

“It defies belief that almost 3 million hard-working people – childminders, booksellers, accountants, entertainers and many, many more – have been left without support since this pandemic started. These small business owners, freelancers and the self-employed showed the entrepreneurial spirit the Government so often calls for yet, when they need support most, the Government has not been there for them.

“So today we are calling on the Chancellor to right the injustice done to the 3 million excluded from support, when he delivers his spending review tomorrow.”

Detailed information on eligibility and the applications process will be released later this week by Sefton Council a and the six other City Region councils.