Small businesses across Merseyside encouraged to “trade on” with £8.1m support scheme

Merseyside business owners are to get an £8.1 million boost through a support scheme to help businesses affected by the pandemic.

A view across the River Mersey just before the sun rises behind the Liverpool waterfront.

Funding through the ‘Trading On’ scheme will be distributed by Liverpool City Region’s six local authorities to support small and medium-sized businesses with between 10 and 249 employees.

LCR secured £44 million in emergency funding for more than 4,000 businesses from the government’s Additional Restrictions Grant scheme when the region was first put into Tier Three restrictions in October 2020.

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How can businesses access the grant?

The scheme will open for applications at 10:00 on Monday, 25 October, and will close at 17:00 on Friday, 12 November, 2021.

The grants are to be administered by each local authority and the amount of grant funding for individual businesses will vary across different local authority areas.

The leaders of the six local authorities released a statement saying that they had worked together over the past 18 months to protect the region from the ‘biggest challenge it has faced since the war.’

What the council leaders said

“That collaboration, creativity and hard work resulted in millions of pounds of support that helped sustain thousands of businesses in all parts of our region through the worst of the pandemic.

“More than £44m was distributed to more than 4,000 businesses, saving many more thousands of jobs and livelihoods in the process. We start our recovery from a much stronger position as a result.

“That recovery is already well underway and received a massive boost in May, with the launch of Liverpool City Region Mayor Steve Rotheram’s £150m Covid Recovery Fund, which has allowed our region to get a headstart on the rest of the country.

“Today, we’re launching another £8.1m of funding for small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs), who make up a massive chunk of the local economy. Together, we are making sure that the Liverpool City Region has the fastest and strongest recovery possible, with no one left behind.”

For more information on the individual schemes, including eligibility and how to apply, businesses should visit their local council website.

Reaction to scheme

MerseyMade, a business based in Liverpool city centre, supports local creatives who work and sell their products on site.

The business received a support grant last year which enabled them to set up an online shop at the height of the pandemic.

Founder, Vicky Gawith, said: “As a small business within the region, we know, like so many start-ups and established businesses alike, that COVID-19 has drastically changed our working environment.

“Additional support would most certainly be valuable to so many at this time. Helping support local independent businesses, in turn supports local people and their livelihoods and provides new opportunities for the local community. The local authority grants will help enable people to steer their businesses to success in the ‘new normal’ world.”

Phil McCabe, Development Manager, Federation of Small Businesses Merseyside and Cheshire, said: “FSB welcomes the introduction of the £8.1 million Trading On scheme, to be targeted at SMEs in Liverpool City Region, many of which are struggling greatly with the impact of COVID and the challenges of recovery.

“Throughout the pandemic we have worked closely with the Combined Authority and local councils, in very difficult and unprecedented circumstances, to ensure as many businesses are possible can access support and funding and will continue to do so in relation to this scheme.”

Each Local Authority will receive the following one-off allocation:

Halton - £673,634.01

Knowsley - £785,559.29

Liverpool - £2,592,501.84

Sefton - £1,438,890.58

St Helens - £940,172.35

Wirral - £1,686,687.94

Total - Liverpool City Region - £8,117,446.00

Figures according to wirral.gov.uk