Brighton and Hove have the highest rate of start-up enterprises out of London, with over 100 of those businesses moving on to prosper and providing stable jobs for the people who live here.
New studies showed that more than half of Brighton and Hove’s small businesses had revenue declined by more than 50% during the coronavirus pandemic.
The findings revealed that 58 percent saw a loss of more than 50 percent of their profits as a direct consequence of Covid-19, with a staggering 26 percent reporting a reduction of more than 90 percent.
The reports are now used to directly petition the government for further funding and support to local businesses.
Councilors also voted to award grants totaling at least £ 3.6 million to local enterprises in Brighton and Hove. The funding is intended to save jobs, boost main industries, and fund public services during the crisis.
Small Business Grants Scheme
In the previous months, Brighton and Hove City Council have given out £63 million to over 4,600 local companies.
City officials and city council members are actively encouraging more businesses to come forward if they are eligible for government-funded assistance.
More than 800 businesses in Brighton and Hove may have missed out on government funding to support them during the coronavirus public health crisis.
Labor council leader Nancy Platts advised fellow councilors to better recognize people qualifying for the handout. She called for them to use their grassroots experience in their offices as Brighton and Hove City Council seek to hunt down others who are entitled to the help.
Other businesses may have relocated, changed their name, or closed down, she said, or they may be afraid that money would have to be paid back at a certain time when it doesn’t.
The Council’s Policy and Resources Recovery Sub-Committee agreed to extend grants of up to £ 25,000, something that will never have to be repaid, to local businesses that were not eligible during the assessment for the initial support.
The move was endorsed by all 3 political parties – Labour, the Greens, and the Conservative Party.
The Council plans to have the £ 5.5 million left over from the initial business grant program and needs permission to add that to the “discretionary” budget.
Councilor Platts stated, “This will be a strong statement of how concerned we are for the future of the city and ensuring that we manage our local restoration.
“It also highlights the degree to which Brighton and Hove is a city that develops hundreds of local businesses, and these many small businesses also expand into much larger organizations that hire a lot of people.”
“We have built a contact strategy to increase awareness of the funding scheme from the start of the campaign, providing feedback and information to business partners around the city and direct mail campaigns.
“Ensuring that our small businesses receive the help they need is a top priority, and we have worked extremely hard to get the word out to qualified small businesses.
“We strive to approach eligible businesses, post advertising and call-outs on social media, council pages, and local newspapers, collaborate with our local members of parliament and industry partners, including the Federation of Small Businesses, the Brighton and Hove Economic Partnership, as well as the Brighton and Hove Chamber of Commerce, ensuring that all qualified businesses are made aware of the local council’s grant funding.
Coronavirus Pandemic’s Effects on Local Businesses
Business owners in the city have been already hit by the economic downturn, and they’ve been struggling through spending cuts. They are now being struck by the double whammy of a global health pandemic.
Also, it’s been rough for a lot of residents of the city who normally rely on and do seasonal jobs, because the lockdown means that we missed a lot of the summer season.
As a result of the Covid-19 outbreak, 95 percent of the city’s 2020 outdoor events have been postponed. This means that the vast majority of people will struggle to find other jobs to pay their expenses.
The council will give priority to businesses that meet one or more key criteria:
- The Arts, Culture and Artistic Industries
- Businesses with shared workspaces and operators in shared workspaces
- Charities, mutual benefit firms, and private sector organizations with corporate activities
- Businesses with heavy operating costs that do not charge business rates;
- Locally run leisure companies, including bed and breakfasts
- Long-established businesses that have invested in their own company
- Business dealers with fixed locations and fixed operating expenses;
- Businesses having between 20 and 50 staff or those with high turnover
Labor council member Daniel Yates has said that all eligible businesses should have a fair chance to qualify for funding, but will undergo checks and balances. He stated, “We don’t want to give the money back to the central government. We don’t think they’re going to spend it as much as we ’re planning to.
Conservative council member Joe Miller acknowledged that the funds would be better spent here in Brighton and Hove. He said he had an extraordinary amount of e-mails from local businesses asking for the direct use of grant money for others who have fallen through the net.