Council leader Cllr Ian Ward has written to Secretary of State for Housing, Communities and Local Government Robert Jenrick MP requesting immediate flexibility to direct £7 million from the EU funded Business Growth Programme into ongoing efforts to safeguarding businesses and jobs.
And, in a bid to inform any subsequent requests for Government support and funding, he has contacted small businesses in Birmingham to urgently assess the impact of coronavirus on the city's economy.
Cllr Ward said: "Birmingham has seen a real growth in SMEs in recent years and we know that these businesses and the people they employ will be impacted by Covid19. So it's absolutely vital that we work with Government and other partners to safeguard people's livelihoods.
"We want to reassure all businesses that we are working with partners nationally and across the region to provide advice, guidance and targeted support to ensure that businesses get the right help at the right time.
"We're also actively working with our national and European networks to lobby both the national Government and EU institutions to unlock all available resources that can support this emergency response. I have written to Government asking for immediate flexibility to direct all grant funding resources in support of our local response to safeguard jobs.
"Clearly this is a very fast moving situation, but we're asking our small businesses for a snapshot of the impact and the information we gather will feed into our conversations about supporting jobs and businesses. We're determined to make the strongest possible business case to secure additional funding at a local level to help small businesses weather the storm."
Paul Faulkner, chief executive of Greater Birmingham Chambers of Commerce, added: “It is more important than ever that we all work together to keep business moving during these uncertain times.
“Alongside other key stakeholders, we’re doing our utmost to provide support for firms, as well as sign-posting them to the necessary guidance and advice. I would encourage businesses to continue feeding back to key stakeholders like the council, the Chamber and the Growth Hub so that we can help them access the necessary support.”
A package of enhanced economic measures has been announced by the government to assist businesses, and these are summarised below, more details of which can be found here.
- statutory sick pay relief package for SMEs
- a 12-month business rates holiday for all retail, hospitality and leisure businesses in England, (subject to confirmation of state aid restrictions)
- a 12-month business rates holiday for nurseries
- small business grant funding of £10,000 for all business in receipt of small business rate relief or rural rate relief, (subject to confirmation of state aid restrictions)
- grant funding of £25,000 for retail, hospitality and leisure businesses with property with a rateable value between £15,000 and £51,000, (subject to confirmation of state aid restrictions)
- the Coronavirus Business Interruption Loan Scheme to support long-term viable businesses who may need to respond to cash-flow pressures by seeking additional finance
- the HMRC Time To Pay Scheme to help with tax
- The Greater Birmingham and Solihull Growth Hub has information on local business support programmes and business advice.
- The Federation of Small Businesses has information for small independent traders.
- The Greater Birmingham Chamber of Commerce are also providing regular updates on available support which you can find at https://www.greaterbirminghamchambers.com/research-campaigning/coronavirus-covid-19/
More coronavirus advice and information can be found on the city council’s website at