Additional support for those businesses hit hardest this Christmas

Fylde Council is providing additional financial support this Christmas to businesses hit hardest by the latest round of COVID restrictions by exercising local discretion through the Additional Restrictions Grant (ARG).  The grant has been funded through Central Government with local authorities encouraged to target priority businesses in the local economy, those with limited or no support from other schemes and those hit hardest by the restrictions.

Through the ARG scheme Fylde aims to support as many local businesses as possible with the funds available; this includes a further local discretionary scheme for businesses that cannot access the national grants or are not in hospitality, accommodation or leisure.  The discretionary scheme is expected to award grants to over 200 local businesses.

The ARG will also include a scheme to support licensed taxi drivers.  Trade has been hit hard with the tourism and night-time economy in Fylde directly impacted by restrictions in tier 2, tier 3 and the national lockdown.  Taxi drivers are largely self-employed and whilst they can claim some support for loss of income, they are still required to maintain or rent a vehicle and pay the annual licence fees.  The 360 registered drivers are an essential element of any tourism economy and Fylde Council wants to provide support to help them through the current lean times.

An important part of any local economy is the hospitality sector but even more so with a coastal and rural tourism offer at Fylde.  The restaurants, bars and cafes enjoyed by thousands of residents and visitors across the Fylde have had an uncertain year and now find themselves having to remain closed during the key busy pre-Christmas period from December 2nd.  Fylde Council will be making an additional payment to these businesses from the ARG fund.

Every area has businesses with unique circumstances that may need additional financial support.  The ARG scheme at Fylde will be used to assess, on a case by case basis, businesses that have exceptional circumstances that create additional financial burden as a direct result of the COVID restrictions and regulations, for example, a petting zoo that is required to close but cannot reduce cost on animal welfare, feed or employees.  The ARG is aimed at providing support to those businesses most in need as a result of the COVID regulations.

Leader of Fylde Council. Karen Buckley said: “We are determined to support as many businesses as possible through this pandemic and have adapted our discretionary scheme as we hear of losses in income that cannot be recovered.  Whether it’s taxi drivers or zoos, restaurants or travel companies, livelihoods across Fylde have suffered and the effects of Covid-19 are damaging the economy because of the restrictions needed to keep people safe.  If you’re not certain whether you qualify for one of the grant schemes available please contact the council because we are ready to help support you through these very difficult times. “

Full details of the ARG allocation scheme along with all other grant support for businesses can be found on the Council’s website at this link.