Government funding to boost Warwickshire businesses preparing for post-Covid recovery

OVER £2million of government funding aims to bolster businesses in Stratford district and Rugby borough that can demonstrate their growth plans post-Covid.

Stratford District Council (SDC) has been awarded £1.2million and Rugby Borough Council (RBC) has been given just over £916,000 from The Additional Restrictions Grant (ARG) scheme, which supports businesses not covered by other grant schemes or where additional funding is needed.

Both councils approached the Coventry and Warwickshire Local Enterprise Partnership (CWLEP) Growth Hub to identify businesses impacted by the pandemic that can outline and demonstrate a clear and robust recovery plan.

The authorities will support businesses with plans showing a clear and positive impact of the grants on their recovery, growth and ability to employ local people.

CWLEP spokesman Craig Humphrey said this was not a rescue fund to sustain businesses through to the latter stages of the recovery from Covid-19.

He added: “With this stage of the ARG funding, we expect to be able to demonstrate the impact of real key strategic growth on each business as a vital outcome of each successful application.

“We are urging businesses in all sectors to apply who can clearly prove their investment in their recovery and growth.

“Both councils want successful applicants to have been thoroughly vetted for the commercial viability of their business plan or proposal before going to the next stage of the process, and they will then decide which companies to support as well as the amount of funding to be allocated from the ARG scheme.”

SDC business rates spokeswoman Jo Barker said: “During the different phases of the pandemic, the council has paid out over £70million to businesses in grants and business rate relief.

“Stratford District Council is one of only a few councils that spent all of its central government funding which has allowed this additional money to be made available. This demonstrates the tremendous effort from our staff to ensure that 100 per cent of available funding was distributed to businesses to help them through lockdown and closed periods.

“As restrictions are lifted this new funding now needs to focus on local businesses looking to expand, diversify and support jobs across the district.”

RBC growth and investment spokeswoman Jill Simpson-Vince said: “Rugby Borough Council has already distributed more than £3million in Additional Restrictions Grants to nearly 350 businesses in the borough, and we’re delighted to have secured this new allocation of Government funding to offer businesses further support.

“While previous ARGs focused on supporting businesses through lockdowns and pandemic restrictions, this new funding aims to drive the borough’s recovery from the pandemic by backing businesses which have robust plans for growth.

“Working with CWLEP Growth Hub, we want to provide ambitious businesses with the funding and support to grow, create jobs and boost the borough’s economy.”

Businesses can find out if they are eligible here.

This round of ARG funding must be allocated by the end of March 2022.