Hundreds of small businesses in the West of England will now qualify for the government’s coronavirus grants after a successful campaign by two Bristol entrepreneurs who were missing out on funding.
Becca Luger and Jacky Puzey run small companies in Bristol but are based in shared workspaces so do not pay business rates directly to the council but to their landlords as a part of their rent.
Local chambers of commerce Business West took up the case and lobbied small business minister Paul Scully with a letter signed by 400 businesses from Bristol and Bath.
The government has since decided to award an extra £617million to local authorities to fill the cracks created in the system.
Becca, who runs Crumpet Cakes in Bedminster and specialises in artisan muffins for events and festivals, said: “I am absolutely ecstatic because these council grants will make such a difference to the lives of hundreds of small businesses like ourselves here and all over the country.
“We found ourselves falling through the cracks in the government council grants cash scheme and the support we have had from organisations like Business West has been tremendous.”
Jacky Puzey is based at a shared workspace in Bristol
Fellow campaigner Jacky, a specialist digital embroiderer is based at the Meriton Foundry in St Phillips. She said: “For my business, the grant will give me essential cover for the period when my audience of clients are in lockdown.”
Matt Griffith, policy director of Business West added: “Small companies are now really up against it so this intervention by the government is very welcome following our lobbying.
“It’s pleasing that the government has listened to us and all these small businesses. Now, it is over to the councils to get this money to the small businesses here, some of which faced ruin without it.
“Workspaces are vital for many of our region’s smaller businesses, and a lot of them have suffered very big impacts from the crisis, so having some form of government support makes a huge difference in their ability to survive.”