1. ITV Report

Mayor of Cambridgeshire & Peterborough launches £2.3m scheme to help businesses across the region cope with Covid-19

Businesses across the region have been struggling during the pandemic Credit: ITV News Anglia/PA

The Mayor of Cambridgeshire & Peterborough, James Palmer, has launched a 2.3 million pound grant scheme to help businesses struggling to cope during the pandemic. The aim is to enable smaller companies to strengthen their capacity to survive the outbreak and to 'build muscle' for the future.

“Thousands of businesses are fighting for life and the Combined Authority is here to help them get through this. For many, hard cash to strengthen their ability to bounce back is what they most need, so we’ve revamped our scheme for small capital grants to make it more useful to smaller businesses struggling to adapt to an environment that’s changing so horribly fast.”

– Cambridgeshire & Peterborough Mayor James Palmer

It'll be available all across the region, not just in Cambridgeshire and Peterborough. See below for a full list of the areas it covers:

  • The county of Cambridgeshire
  • The district council areas of Cambridge City
  • South Cambridgeshire
  • Huntingdonshire
  • Fenland
  • East Cambridgeshire
  • Peterborough City
  • Rutland
  • West Suffolk
  • North Hertfordshire
  • Uttlesford
  • Lincolnshire
  • South Kesteven
  • South Holland
  • King's Lynn
  • West Norfolk

The 'Covid-19 Capital Grant Fund' will offer grants from £2000 to £150,000 for new capital investment projects. This could include buying new kit, building new extensions, updating production lines and more.

“The government can provide cash loans to help companies keep afloat in the short-term, but the Combined Authority is looking further ahead, offering practical assistance to companies as they adjust to build their future beyond Covid-19 - cash to fix your assembly line, help you convert your restaurant into a takeaway delivery business, or help you switch your production line to support short-term demand issues. It’s about adapting not just to survive but to strengthen – so it could help you re-purpose your entire business.”

– Mayor Palmer

It comes at a time when businesses across the East are struggling to stay afloat, but there is an increasing amount of support available to them.

Last month, the Milton Keynes and Northamptonshire chambers of commerce teamed up to create a £100,000 fund to support firms negatively impacted by the outbreak.

Eligible applicants for the scheme launched by Mayor James Palmer will be Small to Medium sized Enterprises (SMEs). This includes any registered limited company with fewer than 249 employees, a turnover not exceeding 46 Million Euros, and a balance sheet that does not exceed 46 Million Euros.

“This is about acting for recovery and making the region sustainable again, it’s about using this dreadful enforced downtime to build muscle for the future. What’s on offer for firms who fit the criteria is immediate capital investment to help them adapt, alter direction, or equip for the post-Covid-19 world. We have to help business resilience, prepare for regrowth, develop new activities in new areas, and seize new opportunities that will bring people’s jobs back and secure them for the future.”

– Mayor Palmer

The Mayoral Combined Authority says companies can check to see if they are eligible, and apply for the scheme, online. Companies that don't fit the criteria for these particular grants will be signposted to other support resources, including Cambridgeshire & Peterborough’s Growth Hub, for which they may be eligible.

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