12:26PM, Monday 30 March 2020
Small companies in Slough are set to pay ‘substantially reduced’ business rates over the next financial year as the council aims to protect those threatened by the knock-on effects of COVID-19.
Council leader Cllr James Swindlehurst (Lab, Cippenham Green) said businesses which have been particularly hit by the virus, such as those in the retail, hospitality and leisure industries, will benefit from the reductions.
Bills confirming the changes are expected to be sent to firms early next month.
Cllr Swindlehurst said: “We are supporting local Slough businesses by substantially reducing, or completely writing off, business rates bills for 2020/21 for those particularly hit by the virus.”
The council has received a £3.5 million funding package from the Government with the majority of that money expected to be spent on adult social care services supporting the borough’s most vulnerable citizens during the public health crisis.
The grant will also be used to protect vulnerable children and the homeless, but the council leader said more central funding will be required the longer the pandemic continues.
He added: “Our primary focus at the current time is ensuring
critical services are delivered to our residents.
“I want to thank and pay tribute to the council workforce who are working in very difficult circumstances to ensure that services, particularly to our most vulnerable residents, continue.”
Grants of £10,000 and £25,000 will be made available to small businesses and those in the retail, hospitality and leisure industries, so that they can continue to operate and employ staff.
The council announced a further raft of service closures this week due to the coronavirus pandemic.
All weddings, baptisms and citizenships have been cancelled until Tuesday, April 14, but funerals will continue.
All playgrounds and outdoor gyms have closed but allotments and parks will remain open, although residents cannot congregate there.
Libraries at The Curve, Cippenham, Britwell and Langley have all closed but no overdue fines will be issued.
Jobcentre Plus has also shut but jobseekers can access support online at www.dwp.gov.uk.
Council services can still be accessed online by visiting www.slough.gov.uk or by calling 01753 475111
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