PROSPER MAGAZINE: SPECIAL DIGITAL EDITION
DOUBLE PACKAGE OF FINANCIAL HELP FOR BUSINESSES
Businesses across Dudley borough are receiving an £85 million boost from a ‘double-barrelled’ rescue package.
Dudley Council has now completed the vast majority of applications for business grants and has handed out £42million of grants to more than 3,700 businesses. Council staff have been working round the clock, including weekends, to process the thousands of applications for business grants which have come in.
On top of that, business rates relief has been agreed, which will effectively wipe £45million off the bills for more than 1,500 businesses in retail, leisure and hospitality and nurseries. This will come into effect when these businesses get their rates bills, which will be zero for the current financial year. The business rates relief element will happen automatically and there is no need to apply.
One of the businesses which have benefitted is Red by Night, a live entertainment venue situated in the heart of the DY5 Enterprise Zone in Brierley Hill.
The venue has unfortunately been closed since 16 March due to the COVID-19 pandemic, which means the business has not received any income since then.
Prosper spoke to Chamber member and Director of entertainment venue, Red by Night, Vicki Wilkes, she said, “We’ve had zero income for nearly four weeks now, but we still have a lot of overheads that have to be paid, especially as a start-up business.
“This grant will hopefully enable us to pay the ongoing costs during the shutdown. As a new business, we would not otherwise have the cash reserves to do this and we would seriously have been looking at potential insolvency. This is literally the difference between Red by Night re-opening and surviving or being lost before we ever really got going.
“I’ve spoken to the team at Dudley Council on several occasions and they provided reassurance. We submitted our application on 30 March, and we received the grant on 7 April.
“Throughout this process, Dudley Council as individuals and as a whole have been proactive and supportive, I could not have asked for better service or support. Thank you.”
Councillor Steve Clark, the cabinet member for finance, told us, “I’m so glad we were able to help businesses like Red by Night and I hope that those eligible businesses who still haven’t come forward, get in touch so that we can offer all the support we can.
“We hope that the grants, combined with the business rate relief will go a long way to easing concerns of local businesses at such a difficult time.”
Smaller businesses, with rateable values of up to £15,000, can still apply for grants of £10,000 while certain medium to larger firms in the retail, hospitality and leisure industries, with rateable values of between £15,000 and £51,000, have access to grants of £25,000.
Eligible businesses can get more information on how to claim by visiting www.dudley.gov.uk/coronavirus-businessrates-grant