Huntingdonshire District Council (HDC) has completed a district-wide business survey, collating responses from over 450 businesses, to enable a greater level of detail and tailoring of local business support currently provided by the council.
Throughout the COVID-19 pandemic response, HDC has been allocating and distributing Government grant money, financial support that 90% of our eligible businesses have taken advantage of. So far £29 million has been paid out to 2,324 businesses, however, estimates suggest that there are up to 300 small businesses that have not applied, that could. One of the biggest gaps is within the Retail, Hospitality and Leisure sector, so we are encouraging medium-sized businesses that pay business rates to visit www.wearehuntingdonshire.org to determine their eligibility for support funding.
Additionally, the Local Authority Discretionary Grant Fund was launched on Monday 8 June 2020, offering support to smaller business sectors that had yet to be eligible under other Government funding announcements. In a short time frame, the application process was built, seeing the first grant payments hit the bank accounts of local businesses within seven days of application. Nearly 60% of the funding pot has been allocated to businesses that have submitted successful applications, so we urge businesses to check their eligibility for this fund at www.huntingdonshire.gov.uk/discretionarygrant before all of the funding has been allocated and the scheme closes.
Executive Leader of the Council, Councillor Ryan Fuller, said: “We will always strive for and promote, the growth and success of local businesses. The distribution of Government funding is just one way in which we are doing that. Our survey of local businesses offers us key insights directly from the people who are dealing with the changes in the local economy, allowing us to forge a greater understanding of what we can do as a local authority to better support our industries and business sectors.
“I urge all business owners to explore the Government grants and loans that are available to them. With our high streets reopening across Huntingdonshire, we have implemented a range of measures to enable businesses and residents in our market towns to shop safely and locally as well as planning for when further sectors begin to reopen.”
Also, detailed within the results of the council’s local business survey, 50% of the respondents reported that they had utilised the Government’s job retention (Furlough) scheme. This feedback is valuable to the recovery planning for HDC, recognising that businesses across the district have accessed the government support as well as looking at innovative delivery models as they look to recover from the challenges coronavirus poses.
The survey results provide an insight into the issues and challenges facing local businesses and the data will inform our action plan for Huntingdonshire and the support packages required to accelerate business recovery and growth.
Media Contacts: Jane Gadsby, Communications Executive, 01480 388009
Gregg Sullivan, Communications Executive, 01480 388687