The City Court of Common Council has agreed to create a grant fund for City SME Businesses that have been impacted by the COVID-19 Pandemic. The scheme is designed to support businesses which contribute to the City’s vibrancy at street level and directly provide services to returning City workers, visitors, and residents. The necessary infrastructure for a successful City has been affected by enforced closure or low footfall and this scheme will seek to support those businesses that can evidence, through the grant application process, a likelihood that with support they have a reasonable chance to survive beyond the short term.
The scheme is entirely discretionary, and the City is permitted to use its own local knowledge based on economic need to determine qualification criteria.
The All Change at Bank project, which was made permanent in September 2018 follows the Bank on Safety scheme, restricts traffic through Bank Junction to improve safety.
Between January and June 2020 temporary improvements were installed including wider footways, wider and shorter pedestrian crossings and enhance cycle advanced stop lines in order to ease the pedestrian congestion whilst further work was undertaken on a longer-term project.
The All Change at Bank project looks at the future of the area around Bank Station which will re-open at the end of 2022 after an upgrade. The City of London Corporation wants to improve the pedestrian environment and provide a fitting setting for the iconic buildings at the heart of the Square Mile.
The area has seen significant pedestrian and cycling growth in recent years which the physical environment does not reflect. With expected continued growth from nearby developments and the station capacity upgrade, the project aims to deliver change at the junction by the end of 2022 by:
Continuing to reduce casualties by simplifying the junction
Reducing pedestrian crowding levels
Improving air quality
Improving the perception of place, as a place to spend time in rather than pass through
A new Covid Business Recovery Fund of up to £50 million will launch next Monday (12 April) after it was agreed by the City of London Corporation.
The design of the fund – which was agreed by the Policy and Resources Committee today following an earlier decision by the Court of Common Council to establish it on 4 March – will support SME businesses which contribute to the Square Mile’s vibrancy at street level and directly provide services to returning City workers, visitors and residents. It aims to support those businesses that can evidence, through the grant application process, a likelihood that with support they have a reasonable chance to survive beyond the short-term.
Applicants will need to demonstrate that they provide an in-person service to the general public in either the retail, hospitality, medical or leisure sectors. Other requirements will include that the business: has had its trading premises in the City of London since at least 20 March 2020 with businesses that have signed leases prior to this date being eligible; has taken steps to reduce its costs as far as practical and has taken up all available grants/loans; has actively engaged with its landlord and agreed a rent-free period or a reduction in rent; and pays the Living Wage.
Grants will be based on individual requirements after a financial evaluation but will not exceed £100,000 per business. Applications will be accepted between 12 April and 11 June 2021. Funds will be awarded on a first come, first served basis. If the level of grants awarded exceeds the allocated funding, then the scheme will be closed with immediate effect.
An online portal has been set up to take applications and will go live from 12 April. Businesses can find further information on the fund and apply from Monday here. The City Business Library will provide support to any applicants unsure how to use the portal.
Peter Dunphy has campaigning across a number of areas to help local businesses particularly those left out of government COVID-19 relief schemes.
The Raise the Bar Campaign to increase the rateable value threshold (from 50 to 150K) for businesses to apply for rate relief grants. This is particularly harsh on London businesses where rateable values are higher. This initiative backed by the GLA has now been adopted by the City after lobbying by Peter and other members of the Council.
The City of London is now backing a campaign supported by Peter to include independent healthcare businesses within support schemes. these businesses which include dentists, physiotherapists, podiatrists and osteopaths have endured enforced closure and government rules that exclude them from relief schemes. This is unfair and must change.
Support for serviced office users without rateable value calculations. These businesses pay rates indirectly through their service charges yet are excluded from rate relief schemes. We are lobbying the government for more help as well as asking serviced office providers to be as helpful as possible to their licence holders.
Licensed premises have been closed down but under current legislation the local authority is obliged to continue to charge fees and levies including the late night levy even though no activity is possible. Again we are seeking a change in this legislation to allow a reversal of these charges.
For more information about these campaigns get in touch with Peter Dunphy
Peter Dunphy who was first elected to represent Cornhill ward in 2009 has now been appointed Ward Deputy. The Deputy is the senior Common Councillor and is appointed by, and acts to deputise for, the Alderman.
“I’m delighted to take up this role and would like to thank Stephen Haines for over 10 years service in this role. Stephen encouraged me to stand for the Council in the first place and I will be forever grateful for his encouragement and support. He has been a diligent and hard working Deputy in close touch with the residents and businesses of the Ward”