December 2020: News from your local MP
AS the local MP, I am keen to ensure that residents, businesses and community groups know about all the support available to help them through this winter.
A grant scheme worth a total of £23m is open to businesses in our area secure jobs and deal with the effects of Covid-19 restrictions. The Additional Restrictions Grant is a discretionary payment to help businesses adversely impacted by national restrictions. This is in addition to the Government’s Local Restrictions Grant aimed at businesses required to close.
The West of England Combined Authority (WECA), led by Mayor Tim Bowles, has been working councils, including South Gloucestershire Council, to create a consistent regional approach to awarding these grants based on economic need.
The grant support focuses on helping:
• Non-business rate paying businesses that are required to close (including businesses registered for Council Tax);
• Businesses not required to close but have closed due to a significant impact on trading;
• Businesses continuing to operate, but with significantly reduced demand due to social distancing rules.
As well as supporting local business and jobs, the Government is supporting our wider local community and heritage groups. Before the new national restrictions came in, I enjoyed visiting Kingswood Heritage Museum in Warmley and, more recently, I was delighted to welcome over £11,000 in funding from the government’s £1.57billion Culture Recovery Fund to support Willsbridge Mill Community Refresh. WMCR is a voluntary not-for-profit organising maintaining the Mill for the community since 2014.
In addition, local recipients of funding from the government’s Coronavirus Community Support Fund include Juice Community Project in Cadbury Heath (£9,400) and Kingswood Community Transport (£6,000) - I am so pleased that volunteers’ hard work and efforts have been supported in this way.
I firmly believe that investing in our communities and our heritage remains vitally important for how we recover from the pandemic - creating jobs and economic prosperity, driving tourism, supporting our wellbeing and making our local areas better places to live.
Finally, I wanted to wish everyone a Merry Christmas and Happy New Year. We don’t know yet what celebrations we will have, but I hope that 2021 will be a better year than 2020. News of a vaccine is extremely promising, and I hope light is now at the end of what has been a dark tunnel. We will bounce back from this, but we will do so faster if we can help support each other as a local community, one I am proud to represent.