Lambeth Council boosts support for the borough’s businesses and workers

25 March 2020

Written by: Lambeth Council

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Lambeth Council has today approved a wide-ranging and ambitious economic package to help struggling businesses, voluntary and community sector (VCS) groups and the borough’s residents cope with the COVID-19 pandemic.

The council has also today significantly expanded its help for residents facing financial hardship.

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Lambeth Council boosts support for the borough’s businesses and workers

Lambeth’s major economic package to support workers and businesses affected by impacts of coronavirus is one of the largest and most comprehensive launched by any local authority in the capital. The package is designed to offer relief and certainty at a time of unprecedented challenge and has been put together following consultation with the borough’s business representatives and wide discussion with the VCS sector.

The package includes:

  • Rent relief – three months’ rent free for voluntary and community sector organisations that rent council properties and most businesses (including hairdressers, cafes, restaurants and non-food retail outlets);
  • Grants to businesses – Government have announced grants of either £10,000 or £25,000 for businesses who receive Small Business Rate Relief or are in the retail, hospitality or leisure sectors – the council will be paying out in the region of £70m directly to businesses. From today we are starting to pay these grants directly to businesses who are eligible, and we are doing this before receiving the funding from Government. There is no need to contact us to apply for this and those who are eligible will be contacted directly to request further information to enable payments.
  • Business Rates relief – the business rate relief support announced by Government is being applied to accounts automatically. This includes 100% business rate relief for retail, hospitality and leisure businesses for 2020/21.
  • Freezing commercial waste charges for pubs, clubs and restaurants;
  • Business Task Force – We have established a Task Force with Lambeth’s 7 Business Improvement Districts, coordinating our response and working up additional proposals to support local businesses and support the eventual economic recovery effort;
  • Emergency Support Scheme – the council has committed an additional £500,000 to provide financial support to the most vulnerable residents who are at immediate risk of financial hardship. The scheme provides those who are experiencing a crisis or emergency with support to buy food and make energy payments.
  • Lobbying government to support our self-employed residents, many of which work in the creative industries in Lambeth, with additional measures to alleviate financial hardship.

Speaking today, Jack Hopkins, Leader of Lambeth council said: “We welcome the Government’s announcements up to now, but we believe they do not go far enough. As a result, we have been lobbying hard to make sure that support is rolled out quickly and is extended to self-employed workers immediately. The council considers we must also step in to help.

“This is a time of great anxiety for workers and businesses – but we want our residents, voluntary groups and business community to know that Lambeth council will do everything in our power to help them through this.  No other London borough has put together such an ambitious package of help – but if it is needed, we will do more.”

Taken together, the package will invest £1.2 million in local businesses and voluntary groups, providing a lifeline to many in these difficult times and ensuring our thriving business and voluntary sectors can bounce back when this crisis recedes. More information for businesses and VCS groups can be found here: www.lambeth.gov.uk/covid19businesses

To reinforce the support the council is offering our community at this challenging time, the council has committed an additional £500,000 to provide financial support to the most vulnerable residents who are at immediate risk of financial hardship. The scheme provides those who are experiencing a crisis or emergency with support to buy food and make energy payments. More information at: https://www.lambeth.gov.uk/apply-for-emergency-support

Information on the extensive programme of work currently underway within the council to support business and the VCS, as well as our residents, can be found here: https://www.lambeth.gov.uk/elections-and-council/about-lambeth/lambeth-coronavirus-information/coronavirus-covid-19-information

Full details of the package 

Rent Relief

  • All Voluntary and Community Sector and the business tenants most impacted by the crisis are being granted three months’ full rent relief
  • Businesses include; hairdressers; cafes; restaurants; beauty salons; offices; non-food related retail
  • This will directly benefit 226 commercial tenants of the council.

Grants to businesses

  • Government have announced grants of either £10,000 or £25,000 for businesses who receive Small Business Rate Relief or are in the retail, hospitality or leisure sectors. From today we are paying these grants directly to businesses who are eligible, and we are doing this before receiving the funding from Government. There is no need to apply for this and those who are eligible will be contacted directly.

Business Rates relief

  • The business rate relief support announced by Government is being applied to accounts automatically. This includes 100% business rate relief for retail, hospitality and leisure businesses for 2020/21.

Commercial Waste

  • Freezing of services and waiving payment immediately for those that currently don’t need the service – contact Lambeth council if you’re no longer in operation, to freeze your account

Business Task Force

  • We have established a Task Force with Lambeth’s seven Business Improvement Districts (BIDs), coordinating our response and working up additional proposals to support local businesses and support the eventual economic recovery effort
  • Lambeth is also looking at how the council can safeguard the future of BIDs through this time – valuing the vital role they play in the local economy

Emergency Support Scheme

  • The council has committed an additional £500,000 to provide financial support to the most vulnerable residents who are at immediate risk of financial hardship. The scheme provides those who are experiencing a crisis or emergency with support to buy food and make energy payments. More information at: https://www.lambeth.gov.uk/apply-for-emergency-support

Lobbying Government

  • The Leader has sent a letter to Chancellor Rishi Sunak, MP, calling for increased support for self-employed workers, co-signed with the borough’s cultural organisations.

Further information

The council’s website provides key information for businesses on the Coronavirus: lambeth.gov.uk/covid19businesses