Barnsley Council has dedicated extensive financial aid to both residents and businesses across the borough to support them to remain economically stable throughout coronavirus pandemic.
As a commitment to support local businesses across Barnsley during COVID-19, Barnsley Council paid £47 million in business grants to over 5,000 companies in 2020. An additional £10 million has since been issued in 2021 due to the January lockdown to further help businesses survive. To be sure that companies had the financial support in place as early as possible, automatic payments have been made by the council before receiving the funding from central government.
As part of the substantial support package that aims to support businesses with ongoing business costs and acting as a responsible landlord, the council has also provided £1.2 million in rent relief to businesses to help reduce pressure during the pandemic.
Working in partnership with the council; Enterprising Barnsley, regulatory services and external bodies have provided personalised COVID-19 and practical support and advice on a case by case basis to help businesses reduce their costs, supporting them to continue trading.
The council has also provided extensive guidance for businesses to comply with COVID-19 regulations, allowing them to continue trading safely. Regulatory services have responded to requests directly from business owners, and have successfully advised on changes to the legislation which have been modified 66 times since February 2020.
Further information on business grants for the January 2021 lockdown is available at enterprisingbarnsley.co.uk. This includes updated top-ups for rate-paying closed businesses, grants for non-rate paying businesses and further grant payments for open businesses experiencing a significant loss of trade.
There is also updated discretionary support for home-based businesses and others with very low fixed cost, driving instructors and a continuation of supply chain scheme.
Alongside this dedicated offer, a separate Test and Trace isolation scheme is currently in place for workers in Barnsley who are on lower incomes, that cannot work from home and whose finances would be adversely affected if told to self-isolate due to a loss of income.
Under the scheme there are two separate grants that people are eligible to apply for, the main scheme being funded by central government and an additional discretionary scheme for those who do not meet the main scheme criteria, provided by Barnsley Council.
To date 890 grants have been issued, totalling £251,500 across the main scheme and a further £193,500 for the discretionary scheme, supporting residents to isolate when told to do so by the NHS Test and Trace Service or the NHS COVID-19 app.
Further details about applying and eligibility for the scheme are available at barnsley.gov.uk/covid-19-test-and-trace-support-payment.
Cllr Sir Steve Houghton CBE, Leader of Barnsley Council, said: “It is vital that we as a local authority do all that we can to protect and support our local businesses and workers across Barnsley, we acted swiftly and the offer we have provided exceeds the support given by other areas across the country.
“We will continue to offer support and advice, including financial aid when necessary to be sure that as many traders as possible can survive throughout the pandemic.
“We are proud of our local businesses and workers and have done all that we can to provide them with the best financial support available during these circumstances.”
Karl Chamberlain, owner of Barnsley Models and Games, based in the Victorian Arcade, said: “As a Barnsley town centre business, receiving the money so quickly from the council was vital to paying our business costs and keeping afloat. The fact the council have paid us what we are entitled to automatically as new support has been made available has saved me the hassle of having to fill in forms and really speeded up the process.
“We’ve had great support as well as being given practical advice from the councils Enterprising Barnsley service to help us manage through the periods of being open.”