Council provides £20k support to small businesses

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A PROJECT run by Portsmouth City Council has provided more than £20,000 of support to small businesses throughout the city.

A total of 40 small firms and pubs across the region have been awarded funding after being affected by increases in business rates.

A recent revaluation of business properties has meant that many businesses are having to pay higher rates.

This funding scheme is specifically designed to help those affected.

Councillor Donna Jones, Portsmouth City Council’s leader and cabinet member for planning, regeneration and economic development, said: ‘We’re committed to supporting businesses to ensure jobs are protected and created to help grow the local economy.

‘Government announced this funding in spring and as a council we have done everything we can to make it available to businesses as soon as possible and help them get the benefits.

‘I’m delighted we have already been able to help so many businesses and hopefully even more will apply for support. We’re contacting all of the businesses we think would be eligible to make sure they know what’s available to them and how they can benefit from the scheme.’

In the 2017 spring budget, the government announced a £300m national package of support. Following this announcement, Portsmouth City Council announced its plans to provide just under £900,000 worth of funding to businesses in the area, £500,000 of which will be made available in the 2017/18 period.

Firms can still secure funding with the council as applications can still be made by companies occupying a business premises with a rateable value of less than £200,000 where the revaluation has increased their gross bill by 12.5 per cent compared to last year.

Successful businesses will receive support worth up to eight per cent of their business rates bill.

In a recent survey, Portsmouth came in at sixth place in a list of the top towns and cities to start a small business.

The council offers various services to new business owners including mentoring and identifying potential grant pots.