Council cash offers hope for struggling Gloucester businesses
FIRMS in Gloucester are to be given a helping hand with their business rates.
In a new £120,000 package of measures unveiled by Gloucester City Council, the assistance with business rates is believed to be only the second scheme of its kind in the country.
Further help is being provided with rent payments and property repairs and is based on a first-come-first-served basis.
More than 30 businesses could be thrown the cash lifeline to help tackle the tough economic climate.
Council leader Paul James said: "In the past two years more than 300 businesses have either started up, expanded or relocated to the city.
"This is coupled with massive inward investment over the past five years of £700 million which has either already been spent or committed by developers to major local projects.
"We are bucking the national trend and we want to ensure that we provide for a balanced local economy.
"That is why we are continuing with a programme to help business growth in the city centre.
"We have now added an extra component to our armoury with an innovative grant scheme for business rates. We are the first local authority in the region to do this and as far as we are aware one of the only councils in the country.
"This demonstrates our commitment to support business and the local economy in every way that we can."
New companies just starting up, existing businesses needing to expand and firms relocating to Gloucester from outside areas could all qualify as long as they are all within the city centre.
Ivan Taylor, chairman of Westgate Traders Association, welcomed the investment.
"We are living in a very fast paced business environment and that comes at a cost. This £120,000 will help businesses to keep up if it is spent in the right way.
"The money should be put towards planning for the future to aid the regeneration of Gloucester.
"That in turn will create more employment to help create a vibrant city centre."
More information about the grants is available by calling 01452 396986.