More than nine in ten businesses in Greater Manchester affected by coronavirus

Date published: 17 April 2020

More than nine in 10 businesses in Greater Manchester have been affected by the coronavirus crisis, the latest figures reveal.

A total of 93 per cent of businesses in the region have reported an impact caused by Covid-19.

This is up from 76 per cent the previous week, according to the Mayor of Greater Manchester.

Speaking at a press conference on Wednesday, Andy Burnham said that there has been a “significant increase” in the number of businesses expressing concern about the effect of Covid-19.

He said: “That suggests that things are getting tougher for them – much tougher – the deeper we get into this.”

The mayor also revealed that £130m has been paid to small businesses so far by local authorities who are handing out government grants.

The coronavirus financial support grant has been made available by the government to help small and medium sized enterprises.

This grant is for businesses that are losing revenue, and seeing their cashflow disrupted, as a result of the Covid-19 outbreak.

Mr Burnham said: “From an encouraging point of view, the 10 local authorities have been working flat out, particularly over the weekend, to get business support grants out to qualifying businesses.

“The latest figure is that we’ve paid out, as a Greater Manchester system, £130m to our businesses under this scheme, which equates to a quarter of all grants that will be given out under this scheme.

“There is a concern that some businesses are still not applying, and we would encourage them to do that.

“We want eligible businesses to apply but there’s alongside that a concern about fraudulent applications and we are going to be working with [Chief Constable Ian Hopkins] and his colleagues to bear down on fraudulent applications to that scheme.”

The government announced that grant funding of £10,000 would be available for all business in receipt of small business rate relief or rural rate relief.

The Retail and Hospitality Grant Scheme also provides businesses in the retail, hospitality and leisure sectors with a cash grant of up to £25,000 per property.

For businesses in these sectors with a rateable value of under £15,000, they will receive a grant of £10,000.

For businesses in these sectors with a rateable value of between £15,001 and £51,000, they will receive a grant of £25,000.

Local authorities can pay the £25,000 grant automatically because business rates receipts identify which businesses are eligible.

But many firms eligible for the £10,000 do not pay business rates (due to rate relief) so their bank details are not on councils’ payment systems.

These eligible businesses must notify local authorities by visiting their websites and registering their details.

Joseph Timan, Local Democracy Reporter

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