14 December 2015

Although there has been a general welcome for the Government's decision to make up to £2500 available to SMEs affected by flooding in Cumbria and Lancashire, to help them get back up and running, business groups have stressed that more help is needed.

John Allan, National Chairman for the Federation of Small Businesses, warned that, for some, the money on offer will not even come close to covering the cost of rebuilding their business.

He has urged the Government to identify the hardest-hit businesses and consider additional funding support for these exceptional cases.

Meanwhile, the Institute of Directors (IoD) has called for a temporary business rates holiday for small and medium-sized businesses in the parts of the North West which have been affected by flooding.

Chris Ward of IoD Cumbria said: "For some small and medium-sized businesses, the flood damage is a serious threat to their very existence. Many will be closed for months, and will face hefty bills to replace equipment, buy new stock and repair their premises."

The £50 million fund and grants announced by the Chancellor will help, he went on, but getting back to business as usual in the affected areas merits more intervention.

If local authorities were to forego one month of business rates, Mr Ward pointed out, small businesses would receive an immediate cash boost.