I’m pleased to be one of the members moving a budget amendment today to create a fund of £50 million to establish a City of London Covid Business Recovery Fund to support small retailers and hospitality businesses and clinical and professional practices (e.g. dentists and opticians) within the Square Mile.
We all know that, in order for the City to thrive, we must have the social infrastructure in place to support the hundreds of thousands of workers that we want to see coming back to their offices as soon as it is safe to do so. Unfortunately it is those small businesses – sandwich shops, cafes, pubs and ‘corner shops’ – that have been the worst hit by the pandemic and have significant rent arrears and other debts.
Our Covid Business Recovery Fund will target those independent retailers and hospitality businesses, including the small chains, by providing them with grants to enable them to help pay off their debts and have some working capital to get their business up and running again. A condition of the grants will be that they also seek and obtain support, not just rent deferrals, from their landlords and have a viable proposition to run the business long-term on a going concern basis.