April 14, 2020 @ 17:09 by Alison Cowie
Middlesbrough Council has awarded £13.2 million in business grants to more than 1150 local businesses amid the coronavirus outbreak.
It comes as Mayor Andy Preston (pictured) revealed Middlesbrough Council took a decision to start awarding grants before Government money was received in order to support Middlesbrough businesses and workers as quickly as possible.
Most retail, hospitality and leisure-based businesses in England now qualify for 100 per cent retail rates relief for the next 12 months.
Businesses entitled to the 100 per cent retail relief operating from premises with a rateable value of between £15,001 and £50,999 will receive a £25,000 grant, while grants of £10,000 will be awarded to any small businesses eligible for Small Business Rates Relief.
Nursery ratepayers in properties on the Early Years Register will also be given a rates holiday for 2020/21.
Middlesbrough Council has been working to contact all eligible businesses, but owners can also fill in and submit an online claim form.
To further support businesses, charges in all council pay-and-display car parks and on-street parking meters have been suspended to support key workers who need to come into town.
One local independent business who have been awarded a grant is Hillier Jewellers, based on Linthorpe Road.
Adam Hillier, who runs the business with brother Lewis, said: “The speed [the grant] came through was brilliant and makes a huge difference. We are still having to look at Government loans as a safety net because we don’t know what the next four or five months are going to bring.”
Middlesbrough Mayor Andy Preston said: “We knew straight away how much of a lifeline these grants would be to protect local jobs and that’s why we took the decision to go out on a limb and start awarding grants before we’d received even a single penny from the Government.
“I think that support from within the council and from council officers says a lot about how determined we are to sustain jobs in Middlesbrough and grow job opportunities for everyone.”
Mr Preston added that support was also available for all Middlesbrough residents. Help Boro can aid people with food, medicine, providing someone to listen to and support you or give advice on health and taking care of yourself.
The Mayor said: “Officers of the council have been mobilised to different areas and are part of a terrific response to this crisis by helping hundreds of people. Anyone worried, frightened or in desperate need of anything please get in touch with us – we can send food, we can signpost to charities, organisations or council departments who can help.”
Businesses based in Middlesbrough seeking updates on the latest Government and local advice and support should visit https://www.middlesbrough.gov.uk/covid19business