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Coronavirus: South Holland businesses welcome cash life-line

South Holland businesses are welcoming a financial life-line to ease hardships during the coronavirus outbreak.

Measures announced by the district council will give help including 100% rates relief for eligible retail and leisure businesses, grants of up to £25,000 for smaller businesses and dedicated funds for pubs.

Karl Sergison, of Sergi's Tapas Bar in Francis Street, Spalding, said: "We don't pay business rates but we are entitled to a £10,000 grant.

Library picture: Martin Ford with husband John Budworth at The Crown Hotel in Holbeach
Library picture: Martin Ford with husband John Budworth at The Crown Hotel in Holbeach

"It's definitely a life-line. It's made a difference between us dropping off the cliff and continuing, so hopefully we can now hang on to the edge of the cliff and not fall off."

The tapas bar is offering takeaways and home deliveries on Fridays and Saturdays from 5pm-6pm.

Mr Sergison said the grant should see them through the next three months, but he's not certain what happens next.

Jill Moore, from The Moorings pub, said: "Anything at the minute would help because no-one has got any income coming in.

"I am more worried about the staff because their jobs have been put on hold."

The family owned pub in Spalding's Commercial Road has eight or nine staff and Mrs Moore says the family have "put everything in place to get them all paid".

Paula Leverton, from the Four Winds Equestrian Centre, in West Pinchbeck, said: "It means we might survive - otherwise I don't know how we would have kept going.

"We can't just close the doors like a shop. We have still got a lot of horses to feed.

"Every little bit helps. Anything is better than nothing."

Martin Ford, from The Crown Hotel in West End, Holbeach, said: "Our business rates are £25,000. It saves us money that we can use to put back into the business. We are also a small business and our profit margin is extremely low."

After pubs closed on Friday, The Crown donated its food stocks to the community larder and to elderly and vulnerable people.

Other help includes:

* A £25,000 grant available to retail, hospitality and leisure businesses operating from smaller premises, with a rateable value of £15,000 to £51,000.

* A Pub Relief fund for pubs with a rateable value under £100,000, giving an extra £5,000 discount for the next year.

* One-off grants up to £10,000 for organisations eligible for Small Business Rate Relief or Rural Rate Relief.

Coun Peter Coupland, portfolio holder for finance, said: "Businesses of all sectors and sizes help create crucial jobs and pay the salaries that allow our residents to put food on the table and keep other key services running."

Business Rates bills for 2020/21 will beissued soon. Grants should be available from early April, and the council will tell eligible businesses how to claim.

Business people can find out more at www.sholland.gov.uk/businessrates or call the Business Rates team on 01775 761161.

Also from www.spaldingtoday.co.uk

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