Prime Minister unveils new £10 million business support scheme to help flood affected businesses get back on their feet.

As part of the government’s ongoing work to deal with the floods, the Prime Minister has today set out further support for businesses in areas affected by flooding.

Building on last week’s package of support for businesses and households, the Prime Minister announced:

A new Business Support Scheme

The scheme is worth up to £10million to provide hardship funding for SME businesses in areas affected by the floods. Both businesses that have been flooded, and businesses that are in affected areas and have suffered significant loss of trade, will be able to apply for support. Eligible businesses will be able to claim for funding for things like immediate clean-up costs, materials, and exceptional costs to help them continue trading.

Extra time for businesses to file accounts without any penalties

If any affected company is unable to file accounts or other documents on time as a direct result of the floods, Companies House will agree an extension and not collect the penalties which apply for late filings

A Government Business Support Helpline

The Helpline is providing comprehensive advice and support to businesses affected by floods. It will offer a free 1 hour call with a dedicated Business Support Adviser to help businesses get back on their feet. The helpline number is 0300 456 3565 and can take calls from flood affected businesses now

Alongside this government action, the government also welcomes the initiative from Enterprise Nation to bring together big business offers of assistance to small firms affected by the floods. These offers of assistance include:

  • Regus, the global workspace provider with 220 business centres across the UK, is coming to the aid of businesses by offering free workspace to workers affected by the floods. Those who cannot work in their normal location – whether that’s an office or their home – will be given free access to the business lounge within any Regus centre, providing professional workspace, WiFi and complementary refreshments.

  • Citrix has pledged to support small businesses affected by the floods by letting them use GoToMeeting free on a trial basis for up to 3 months (90 days) for quick and easy online meetings with employees and customers. GoToMeeting is quick to install and allows you to connect face-to-face and work with people important to your business via a mobile, tablet or PC wherever you or they happen to be.

Prime Minister David Cameron said:

The government is taking action across the board to deal with the clear-up and help hard-working people affected by the floods. Today I am announcing further support for businesses hit to help them get back on their feet. Dealing with these floods will be a long haul, requiring a stepped-up national effort with the whole country pulling together. We will continue to help the people who need help and protect the communities that need protecting.

Business Secretary Vince Cable said:

It is vital that small businesses affected by the flooding get assistance as quickly as possible. We know the insurance companies are working to process claims as quickly as possible and we will inform local authorities of their allocations from the Business Support Scheme on Thursday to assist businesses with clean-up costs or help them to continue trading.

I encourage all businesses affected by flooding to get in touch with their local authority or contact the Business Support Helpline, where our team of advisers will be able to direct people to a wide range of practical help and advice.

Notes to editors

The new Business Support Scheme will be funded by the Department for Business, Innovation and Skills (BIS) but administered and delivered by local authorities and is new money for the flood relief effort.

These measures are in addition to the business rate relief and repair and renew grants announced by the Prime Minister on Wednesday 12 February. Further details about these schemes, including the eligibility criteria and how to apply, will be published later this week.

Further details on the Business Support Scheme:

  • up to £10 million of additional funding will be made available to local councils to support SME businesses in areas affected by flooding in England since December 2013.
  • local authorities will work closely with businesses to ensure that support through the scheme does not duplicate that provided by insurance cover
  • we will allocate funding to local authorities on the basis of an assessment of the number of businesses affected by the floods
  • the allocations to local authorities will be confirmed on Thursday 20 February
  • local authorities will have discretion on the maximum payments to individual businesses - but our guidance highlights equivalent schemes where the average claims were £2,500 per business

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