Sefton businesses supported with £97.7 million in grant payments throughout pandemic
Sefton Council has supported its local businesses throughout the pandemic making 23,000 grant payments, totalling £97.7 million, through local, regional and national financial support schemes.
Rate paying businesses have also been helped through business rates discounts saving them £41.8 million during 2020/21, with a further £22.5 million in discounts awarded to eligible businesses for this financial year.
Cllr Marion Atkinson, Sefton Council’s Cabinet Member for Regeneration and Skills, said:
“The past year and a half has been incredibly challenging for every single businesses owner here in our Borough. Hundreds of businesses were forced to close at various stages throughout the lockdowns and many will still be facing uncertainty about their future as we focus on the economic recovery now needed.
“The mammoth efforts of our Council officers have resulted in an incredible number of payments being issued to our businesses, offering a lifeline when they needed it the most.
“We recognise the key contribution these businesses make to the Sefton economy and we’ve been proud to support them through this time. Our businesses have been patient with us – as we’ve had to follow stringent processes and checks when administering these financial support packages – showing incredible resilience during these unprecedented times.”
The Council’s InvestSefton and Business Rates teams would normally have been delivering business growth and inward investment support while administering and collecting business rates. Instead the focus has been on supporting businesses financially, ensuring they could access important grant payments and other means of support as the health crisis continued.
Colleagues from different departments such as Tourism, Corporate Resources, Housing, Planning, Sefton@Work, Early Years and Adult Care have supported this vital stream of work to ensure that grants were issued to all eligible businesses.
Cllr Paulette Lappin, Cabinet Member for Regulatory, Compliance and Corporate Services, said:
“We’ve also helped businesses with practical support, issuing them with PPE, providing vital infrastructure for Covid-19 testing and our Environmental Health colleagues have supported the re-opening of the retail, hospitality and personal care sectors.
“We will continue to do all we can to ensure businesses get through this period, thriving and ready for the next challenge that they may face.”
Sefton Council has put together a snapshot of the support offered to businesses since the pandemic began:
- The Business Rates team has received 27,000 requests for assistance compared to around 4,000 that would usually be received annually;
- InvestSefton has dealt with more than 4,000 enquiries from manufacturers to cafes and all sorts of businesses in between;
- To date, the Council has administered 23,000 grant payments through local, regional and national financial support packages and schemes;
- That totals £97.7 million in payments to businesses right across the Borough – from taxi drivers to childminders to pub landlords – with the total expected to increase further as the remaining schemes and payments are administered;
- A total of £41.8 million in business rates retail discounts were awarded in 2020/21 with a further £22.5 million awarded in 2021/22;
- The Council has expanded its connections across the Borough, and after key Government updates it has regularly contacted over 2,600 businesses with the latest updates relevant to them;
- The InvestSefton website has had 40,000 visitors looking for help and support since March 2020 and similarly the dedicated Business Support page of the Sefton Council website has had 15,000 site visits from local businesses seeking support.
Stuart Barnes, Sefton Council’s Head of Economic Growth & Housing, said:
“We know that as these financial support schemes draw to a close, the scale of the economic recovery will become clearer. We’ll be here to help all Sefton businesses in whatever way we can to ensure that they continue to succeed.
“Our InvestSefton advisors are only a phone call, email, video call or coffee away and our Business Rates team are available to support our rate paying businesses Borough-wide. There’s no question they haven’t heard and are very much looking forward to better days ahead, where they’ll be right there beside our businesses on the road to recovery and beyond.”
Details of business rates support can be found on the Council’s website at www.sefton.gov.uk/business/business-rates/covid-19-business-support-for-202021-202122/