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Bangla sanglap desk: On Tuesday 19 January Newham Council approved the new strategy to help local businesses adapt and recover to the COVID-19 pandemic. In line with Mayor Fiaz’s Towards a Better Newham plan, the paper approved by Cabinet shows how Newham Council will be giving away £10.1 million of grants in four chunks, and a programme of business support activities. The £10.1 million is to last until March 2022 and any further lockdowns.

Since March 2020 Newham Council has distributed almost £150 million in grants to businesses and business rates relief. Over 4,000 business have received mandatory grants, more than 600 businesses have received discretionary grants and business rates relief has reached 2,570 business. Because of the most recent restrictions imposed by the government, Newham Council is in the process of distributing £10.1 million of Additional Restriction Grants commonly known as ARG money.

The Council is encouraging local business owners to apply, or ask for assistance from Our Newham Business& Enterprise team.

Newham Council is allocating the money and will offer business support in a five phases. £1 million is up for grabs in the first phase, which is open for businesses based in the borough and who do not directly pay business rates and who were forced to close during national lockdown (5 Nov – 2 Dec 2020) and/or affected by 10pm curfews during October 17 – 4 Nov Tier 2 restrictions. For more details and to see if your business is eligible please go to the council’s website.

Phase 2 launching in February, will see £1m targeted at business who are suppliers to businesses that were forced to close. For the avoidance of doubt, if the customers of these business are the general public, then the applicant will not be eligible, but the council is expecting printers, launderettes, catering and event suppliers to apply. The full eligibility list will be available from the Councils website when the applications open.
Phase 3 has £5.6 million and will be allocated to businesses forced to close and/or have restrictions enforced as a result of Further Tier 3, Tier 4 and national lockdowns. Eligible businesses prioritised in Phase 3 is to be decided based on a real-time assessment of need and all other prevailing circumstances.

The Council also wants to support businesses that invest in their work or create opportunities in the borough, promote green practices, buy from other local business and are innovating. Phase 4 has £2 million available for local businesses and charities which are important to Newham and which can demonstrate that they embrace and are planning on benefiting Newham people.

The Council has set aside £500k to help business grow, invest and develop in the borough. This activity will see the council work with partners such as social media companies, business associations, HR experts and procurement advisors to make sure our business’ are growing and helping our residents.

Councillor Gen Kitchen deputy cabinet member for Community Wealth Building said; “The human cost of this pandemic has been truly appalling, and includes the impact on our local businesses and employment.

“As we gear up for the recovery phase of our Towards a Better Newham plan to emerge from the pandemic, one of this administrations top priorities is to preserve jobs and drive forward employment opportunities for our residents, and these grants could prove a real lifeline for many.”

Cllr Kitchen said; “I would like to pay tribute to the Newham Business & Enterprise Team which was rapidly expanded at pace at the beginning of this pandemic to help and support our local companies. They have helped businesses access the vital financial aid they so desperately needed to survive the various stages of lockdown and restrictions.

“Protecting our local economy and jobs for the benefit of all our residents is crucial to Newham’s recovery from this devastating pandemic and a key priority for this Council.”

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