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Council delivering ''millions of pounds'' in Covid-19 business grants

More than 800 small businesses hit by the coronavirus pandemic applied to Lewes District Council for a financial lifeline in the first few days of its launch.

The council went live with its Covid-19 Business Grants portal last Thursday (April 9) and since then 806 businesses across the district have registered using the service, equating to £10.6m in grants.

The Small Business Grant Fund and Retail, Hospitality and Leisure Grant Fund were announced by the government in response to the acute challenges being faced by businesses at this time.

Eligible businesses will receive £10,000 or £25,000 depending on various criteria.

Councillor Zoe Nicholson, Leader of Lewes District Council, said: "We know how important this money is for businesses across our district and I'm proud that the system we have put in place means eligible businesses will receive funds quickly and efficiently.

"My thanks go to all the teams that have worked tirelessly to get this user-friendly portal operational, allowing millions of pounds to be paid to district business over the coming days."

Businesses can visit the council website where they can register on a dedicated portal - www.lewes-eastbourne.gov.uk/businessgrants. When the required information is uploaded, an automated system validates the details and payments to the business will soon follow.

Councillor James MacCleary, Deputy Leader of Lewes District Council, said: "We have been contacted by many businesses across our District that are struggling to cope during this crisis. The media focus is rightly on the public health impact of Covid-19, but we must do everything we can to ensure that people have jobs and income to return to when we get past the crisis.

"I am very proud of our hardworking staff who got this business grants payment system up and running so quickly. Working on the same timetable as other District councils we are now able to provide support to local businesses.

"The only disappointment is that the government's scheme does not cover more businesses. The eligibility criteria laid down means that many small businesses cannot apply for support and it remains to be seen if the government will provide them with direct help."

Councillor Chris Collier said: "With payments authorised for many local businesses, this is great news. It's also a testament to a dedicated team of officers.

"Our concern now turns to the businesses that don't meet the government's strict criteria. It's vital that support for all businesses, including many local micro-enterprises, is put in place by the government at pace."

For more information on business support during the coronavirus crisis visit www.lewes-eastbourne.gov.uk

Updates and news are also being posted on Twitter - @LewesDC

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