Colchester Borough Council has been named as the top performing local authority in Essex for getting urgent financial support to businesses hit by the coronavirus pandemic.
A league table, recently published by Essex County Council (ECC), placed Colchester first out of 12 councils for the total amount of Covid business adaptation grants issued to local firms.
A total of 539 businesses received £1,734,466 from the Essex Business Adaptation Grant scheme, which ECC launched in November 2021. The scheme supplied grants of up to £5,000 to local businesses to carry out adjustments that enabled them to continue to operate safely during the pandemic.
Cllr David King, Leader of the Council, said: Our business rates team worked tirelessly throughout the pandemic to assess numerous applications to help as many businesses as possible. The overall feedback we received was extremely positive and our approach to giving out the grants and the speed with which they were paid was exemplary.
“Being the top performer in the county for distributing business adaptation grants is testament to their can-do attitude, tireless work, and the positive impact they had supporting local businesses and those they employ.
“This work was just one element of the extensive support the council was on hand to provide with the recovery of the local economy. During the pandemic, we distributed over £66.5 million in grants, covering all schemes, and in February 2021 were ranked by the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy as the third best in the whole country for the distribution of Covid business support grants. That's great for Colchester.”
Sam Good, Business Improvement District (BID) Manager for Our Colchester BID, said: “We're proud to have a close working relationship with Colchester Borough Council’s grants team to support our BID businesses in getting the right grants.
“The grant schemes throughout the pandemic, including the Business Adaptation Grants, have been a great support to our businesses. The fact that Colchester Borough Council tops this league table shows just how invaluable this service has been to our businesses.”
Cllr Mark Cory, Cabinet Member for Resources, added: “Throughout the pandemic, during a time of extreme economic uncertainty, our business rates teams worked exceptionally hard to distribute vital support – working with businesses and continuously reviewing eligibility criteria to ensure we could help as many as possible to recover and succeed.
“I applaud them. As this league-table recognises, they are one of the very best teams in Essex.”