Yesterday's Budget (3 March), announced in Parliament by the Chancellor, brings welcome news of more support for businesses and potential investment in Wiltshire.
To help support businesses, the Chancellor announced an extension to the furlough scheme until the end of September, along with a £5bn restart grant scheme to support high street businesses in their recovery from the COVID-19 pandemic. The grants are worth up to £6,000 for non-essential retail, and up to £18,000 for hospitality businesses such as pubs and hotels.
Also announced was an extension of the Business Rate Relief Scheme for those in retail, hospitality and leisure sectors until the end of June, plus an extension to business grants.
The Chancellor also gave details of the Levelling Up Fund, that will allow local authorities to bid for funding for capital projects.
Conservative Cllr Philip Whitehead, Leader of Wiltshire Council, said:
It's great news that the Chancellor has announced further funding for businesses affected by the COVID-19 pandemic in today's Budget, plus increased opportunities for investment.
The restart grants and extension of the VAT holiday are welcome news for Wiltshire businesses, and the extension in the Stamp Duty holiday will enable our Land Charges teams to help more people to buy property in the county.
We're awaiting more information on the business funding, including guidance on eligible businesses and how much we will be able to grant to support Wiltshire businesses, so we'd ask that people please do not contact us to find out more about this at present, as this will delay the payment of current grants.
Our team is currently working hard to assess all Additional Restrictions Grant (ARG) applications and are processing payment where businesses meet the criteria. They are also currently processing payments for the Local Restrictions Support Grant payments, for the period of 16 February 2021-31 March 2021.
We will share more information on any business grants, including any future rounds of funding, when we have it. In the meantime, I'd urge all businesses to sign up on our website for our business newsletter to be kept up-to-date with any new developments.
So far during this pandemic we have paid 21,105 business grants totalling more than £126m, and we will continue to do all we can to support Wiltshire businesses.
We will also look closely at the Levelling Up Fund to see how we can bid for our fair share of this funding, and we will of course continue to look at how we can bid for other Government funding opportunities to secure more investment in Wiltshire.
To keep up-to-date with business grants, and to sign up for the business newsletter, visit Coronavirus business support grants.