North Somerset Liberal Democrats have pushed for additional funding to the district’s pubs, restaurants and cafes which have all been hit by curtailed trading opportunities due to the coronavirus restrictions in place. This funding boost will go beyond the government's hospitality funding to assist hospitality traders who may otherwise struggle to remain afloat.
The hospitality sector has been particularly hard hit by Coronavirus prevention measures. While we have seen residents and visitors return to our high streets, North Somerset’s cafes, pubs, and restaurant businesses, dependent on indoor spaces and social interaction, are operating in a limited capacity with the observation of Covid-secure measures. Uncertainty around the impact of further restrictions, put in place to control the spread of the virus, is already affecting business and consumer confidence at this challenging time for the economy.
Local hospitality businesses have been telling Lib Dem Councillors that the government’s £1000 government hospitality funding would not be enough to help local pubs, cafés, bars and restaurants get through this pandemic.
Cllr Mark Canniford, the council's executive member for business said: "This year has been incredibly difficult for our local businesses, and the hospitality sector has been hit especially hard. The lockdowns and Tier 3 restrictions have severely limited their ability to trade, especially in the run up to Christmas in what for many businesses is their busiest trading period.
"While we welcome the £1,000 additional funding announced by government for 'wet-led' pubs, this would only help a relatively small number of businesses in our area. We want our pubs, restaurants and cafes to all still be here when they're able to trade more normally again.
"We've listened to what our businesses have told us, and we're going above and beyond to step in to help."
North Somerset Council will email or write to all known eligible pubs, restaurants and cafes before Christmas to set-out how to claim the additional funding.
Pubs and restaurants will be able to claim £3,000 in total, paid at £1,000 per month for December, January and February. Cafes with between one and ten employees will be able to claim £500 for each of the three months, and cafes employing 11 or more people will be able to claim £1,000 a month.
If a business doesn't receive an email or letter by Wednesday 23 December and believes they are eligible, they should then contact the Business Grants team via email@example.com.
This funding is in addition to any other statutory grants businesses may have received.
The council is also contacting all those businesses which were not able to re-open while the area was in the 'very high' alert level Tier 3 restrictions by government.
Cllr Canniford said: “We are emailing all eligible businesses directly with the instructions to claim. However, if you think you're eligible and haven’t received notification do get in touch now."
Details of the grants and criteria are available at www.n-somerset.gov.uk/businesssupportgrant