Coronavirus: Council announces £100m relief package for Hackney’s businesses

A man wearing a protective face mask cycles in central London, after Prime Minister Boris Johnson ha

A man wearing a protective face mask cycles in central London, after Prime Minister Boris Johnson has put the UK in lockdown to help curb the spread of the coronavirus. Picture: Victoria Jones/ PA - Credit: PA

Hackney Council has announced it will support the borough’s businesses through the coronavirus pandemic with a £100 million financial support and relief package.

The range of measures, which include a three-month rent free period for the council’s 50 voluntary and charity tenants and rent deferrals for other commercial tenants, were agreed this morning.

Where it holds account details, the council will also start making the first grants to eligible businesses from the government’s coronavirus business grants programmes next week – ahead of receiving central government funding.

Businesses could receive up to £25,000.

The council’s Hackney Business Network has already contacted thousands of members to monitor the impact of the pandemic on their business, with daily updates and information, and the council’s commercial tenants have today started receiving letters explaining the range of measures the council is bringing forward to support businesses and organisations in Hackney.

Immediate measures also include the suspension of all commercial waste payments for businesses that have been forced to close, with other fees and charge waivers also being considered as the situation evolves.

Any fees and charges due from street market traders unable to trade will also be suspended.

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The council has also decided to make any payments due to local businesses for services provided to the council immediately, rather than within 14 days

Further measures including other fees and charges for closed or impacted businesses, will be considered in the coming weeks, as the current situation changes.

It is estimated nearly 3,700 small businesses will be eligible for 100 per cent relief from business rates under the package, and more than 4,200 businesses will be eligible for grants.

The government’s coronavirus small business grant scheme will grant up to £10,000 to eligible businesses, with a separate retail, hospitality and leisure grant of up to £25,000 on offer for eligible businesses.

Philip Glanville, Mayor of Hackney, said: “Hackney’s small businesses are the lifeblood of our local economy and we’re determined to support them throughout this very challenging time.

“We have been pushing for a comprehensive package of support for our local businesses from the government.

“We’ll work as quickly as we can to put the government’s relief and grant packages into action – as well as deferring rent due from our tenants to give them space to breathe.”

He continued: “The incredible response of our well-established voluntary and community organisations shows how essential they will be in the coming months, which is why we’ve waived all rent due from them for the next three months and will explore with them doing even more.

“I’d urge every business in the borough to subscribe to the Hackney Business Network to get the latest information, especially those whose details we don’t have to pay out grants – so that we can contact them with updates. We also want more information from freelancers and the self-employed about how they think the government scheme might help them.”

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