Clitheroe County Councillor Sue Hind today called upon businesses in the Ribble Valley which have suffered during the Covid crisis and who are continuing to suffer - to make application to the Government's AGR scheme for assistance.
''I am aware that some businesses have fallen through the cracks of the many schemes available and there is a belief that if your business does not have premises and pay business rates you cannot apply. This is wrong.''
The funding, known as ''Additional Restrictions Grant'' or AGR is administered by Borough and District Councils. Ribble Valley Borough Council still have considerable funds available and have extended, with Government permission, applications until the 21st July.
I have been informed by our MP Nigel Evans that the total amount of AGR funding for RVBC's smaller businesses covered by this grant, is £1,759,000.00. It is payable in 2 tranches. RVBC has already received £1,217,000.00. If this sum is not exhausted by the deadline of 21st July the remainder will be clawed back by the government as it would appear it is not needed. Also the additional £549,000 will not be made available to Ribble Valley and will be allocated elsewhere ''
'' This could mean a loss of £549,000 of hardship money not made available to suffering businesses in the Ribble Valley. The Government expects the funding to help businesses that are severely impacted by Covid restrictions from all sectors who are not eligible for the Restart Grant. The AGR scheme is directed at smaller businesses who have fallen through the cracks of other schemes, particularly directed at businesses from sectors that remain closed or severely impacted by the extended restrictions, even if those businesses have already been in receipt of Restart Grants.
''These small businesses include the travel and tourism sector, wedding industries, nightclubs, theatres, events industries, wholesalers, English language schools, breweries, freelance and mobile businesses including caterers, events, hair, beauty and wedding related businesses
. I know there are many businesses that fit into these categories both in Clitheroe and the whole of the Ribble Valley.
''I urge all local businesses who are eligible to apply on line to the Financial Director of the Ribble Valley Borough Council Jane Pearson to claim their entitlement and exhaust any funding still available and so that the additional £549,000 will become available to businesses locally in the future as the impact of the pandemic is still felt. I shall be promoting the availability on social media and drawing it to the attention of business organisations, Chambers of Trade and the RV Tourist Association."
Nigel Evans commented, "Over £27 million of government grants have been made available to businesses in the Ribble Valley by the Government. I endorse Sue's call to all businesses not to hold back in seeking an Additional Restriction Grant to preserve jobs, people's livelihoods and encourage the post pandemic recovery.''