The Federation of Small Businesses (FSB) is urging local authorities across England to roll out their own financial support packages to small firms and the self-employed struggling during lockdown.
The call comes after Lincolnshire County Council unveiled a £12m grant scheme aimed at businesses in the region that have not benefited from the Government’s previous support schemes, and smaller businesses with 50 employees or less.
This could be a lifeline for many thousands of company directors, the newly self-employed, and sole traders the wrong side of income threshold who are still being left out in the cold, unable to access the help they need. FSB is urging local authorities in England to follow Lincolnshire’s example, rolling out schemes to offer help to small firms in their region.
The main grant scheme is set to launch at 12 noon on Tuesday, February 23, followed by the other schemes in early March.
A support scheme for directors launched at the end of last month in Northern Ireland. FSB has worked with accounting experts on proposals for how the UK Government can help business owners who have been left out of income support initiatives.
Federation of Small Businesses (FSB) National Chair Mike Cherry said: “Times are tough for small businesses and the self-employed. The latest round of restrictions have brought renewed disruption and mounting financial pressure, with balance sheets already in a much worse state than when the pandemic began. Current grants struggle to cover costs.
“It’s great to see Lincolnshire County Council at the forefront, leading the way by offering this additional direct grant scheme, in particular to those that have not yet received any financial help.
“With the support of central government, we would like to see other local authorities following suit and creating their own schemes to ensure these left out groups elsewhere in the country are given the support that is so desperately needed.
“Of course, this is not an endless pot of money and £12m won’t stretch to cover all businesses that need the funds. The UK government needs to make sure it is stepping in, to help top-up funding where schemes are oversubscribed. While it should be up to local authorities which businesses would be eligible, we hope any council that follows Lincolnshire’s example will look favourably and generously on those who have been able to claim little or no help so far.”