Coronavirus: The Anglia businesses falling through the cracks

Several businesses in the Anglia region are ineligible for the government's emergency grant schemes, leaving them fearing for the future.

Coach companies are some of those left most vulnerable, because they don't qualify for the funding available for the leisure industry.

However, with no tourist or school trips taking place their income has dried up.

  • Watch a video report from ITV Anglia's Matthew Hudson

Roy Badcock runs CL Travel, based near Royston in Hertfordshire; he's expressed fear for the entire industry if there's no further support.

He said: "At the end of it there’s not going to be the coach companies, there’s not going to be the coaches around to take the children to school, to take people on day trips because the companies are not going to survive with no income coming in."

The director of another Royston coach company, Greg Powell of Cozys Travel, estimated they have lost around £600,000 so far during the outbreak.

He said: "That could take a year or two years to return to us. It will have a knock-on effect for more than a couple of months."

The government's Retail, Hospitality and Leisure Grant offers either a £10,000 or £25,000 boost to businesses with a rateable value of less than £51,000.

While bus companies are not included in the leisure sector, the Orwell Lady Cruise Company - which offers river trips in Suffolk - could firmly consider themselves part of the industry.

However they are also missing out on the government money because they do not have any premises, and therefore no rateable value.

Emma Lightfoot said she wants Credit: ITV Anglia

Emma Lightfoot, Director of the Orwell Lady, called for an expansion of the grant's eligibility to include boats.

She said: "You look at Ipswich, we've got three boats [operating out of the marina], you multiply that up along the coast into Norfolk, there's a lot of boats in this area.

"I think [we need] just a little bit of flexibility from the government."

Even those firms eligible for the grants are facing difficulties obtaining them in some areas of the region.

Local authorities are responsible for paying them out, with some councils far behind others in how many businesses have been able to access the money.

For example, Luton Borough Council has paid out to less than 11% of eligible businesses, whereas Kettering Borough Council have got the grants to 82% of the firms that qualify there.

Coronavirus: everything you need to know