Blackpool launches £4m business recovery fund

Blackpool has launched a new £4.2m fund to assist businesses affected by the coronavirus pandemic.

The resort has been mostly closed throughout the main tourist season and the council have been forced to switch off its iconic illuminations display.

The funds will be available to the hospitality sector including restaurants and cafes, accomodation venues including hotels, B&Bs and self-catering apartments, the leisure sector including ratepaying businesses such as amusement arcades, independent theatres and other attractions, supply chain businesses including laundry services and caterers, as well as taxi drivers.

The fund, which will be open for applications from Blackpool-based businesses from Monday 30 November, has been created by merging two discretionary funds.  

The first is the Local Restrictions Support Grant (Open) aimed at those businesses that were allowed to remain open but were severely impacted by Tier 2 local restrictions.  

The second element is the Additional Restrictions Grant, a one-off discretionary fund to assist local businesses and economic recovery. If Blackpool moves back into Tier 3 post-lockdown it will not be repeated. 

The Blackpool Business Recovery Fund is on top of the non-discretionary support grant that has already seen £2.2m paid out to more than 1,100 local businesses during the period of Tier 3 and lockdown.   

Coun Lynn Williams, leader of Blackpool Council, said: "In the last lockdown we were given almost £50m to support our businesses. This time round, we have been given a total of £10m, over half of which forms an automatic grant payment for businesses forced to close during national lockdown, Tier 3 and other restrictions. 

"The remaining discretionary fund has been designed so that it helps as many businesses as possible. The reality of that situation is that some of these payments will be lower than we would wish. 

"But we have been presented with a nigh-on impossible task of trying to spread out too little to too many. The funding award simply does not recognise the unique nature of a tourism economy and its supply chain. 

"As we have said repeatedly we will continue to press Government for a better deal that recognises the catastrophic impact that tiered restrictions and national lockdown have had on Blackpool."

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