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One of our top priorities is making sure that those businesses that have had to close during this lockdown period access the financial support that the Government is providing. There are three rates of grant payments, ranging from £1,334 for businesses with a rateable value of £15,000 or lower; £2,000 for businesses with a rateable value over £15,000, but less than £51,000; and £3,000 for businesses with a rateable value of £51,000 or above. The grant is a one off payment spanning the 28 day national lockdown period from 5 November - 2 December 2020. It's also important to be aware that pubs and restaurants that are closed, but which are continuing to operate by offering a takeaway only service, are also eligible to apply for a business rate grant. If you are eligible for this grant, you can apply by visiting Coronavirus support for businesses where we are listing the support that is available and providing the latest updates. The application process will be up and running by the end of the week. We will also be administering a discretionary grants scheme for business rates and we are working rapidly to get this scheme up and running. As soon as this is available, you will be able to find information on how to apply at: Coronavirus support for businesses. We will also be promoting this through all of our communication channels, including our email newsletter and social media channels.

I'm also pleased to let you know that we are launching our Christmas campaign this week, which will encourage everyone to support our local businesses. We are proud to be delivering the campaign in partnership with our partners and the Observer series. Due to the latest Government restrictions we have had to adapt the campaign slightly while we are in lockdown, but we hope that when the government restrictions are lifted, we can deliver everything we had originally planned. I can't stress enough how important it is that we support our local businesses at this time. Many are still offering click and collect, delivery and online services - so please show them your support. I also know that all of our fantastic high streets in Chichester, Petworth, Midhurst, Selsey and East Wittering are looking forward to welcoming you back when the restrictions are lifted. You can find out more about the campaign and how you can get involved by visiting .

We're also working tirelessly with our partners to support the most vulnerable in our district. Most of those who have been identified as Clinically Extremely Vulnerable should have received direct communication from the Government now. Throughout this pandemic we have worked in partnership with West Sussex County Council to support those who need extra support. This has largely been co-ordinated through the Community Hub, which is run by WSCC. If you need support, please get in contact either online  or by calling 033 022 27980. We are trying to keep the resources available through the hub for those who are most vulnerable, so if you do have support in place already, such as from family or friends, then please continue to use their support. I know that many people are assisting their neighbours and relatives and I want to thank you for everything that you are doing. We have advice for those who want to look out for their neighbours and this can be found at Help Your Neighbour.

I also want to assure you that our Rough Sleeper Outreach workers continue to go out every day to offer accommodation and support to anyone who is sleeping on the street. We will also be talking more to you about this shortly when we launch our 'Make your change count' campaign. We want to work with you to make sure that no one sleeps rough in our district - and we'll be telling you more about how you can help us to achieve this.

We're also highlighting the support that is available to those who are struggling financially - whether it is from ourselves or our partners. We know how difficult it is for many people at the moment and we want you to know that we are here for you. The coronavirus schemes that are available can be found at: Coronavirus support for residents.

I want to thank you for keeping Chichester District safe by following the Government's guidelines. I also want to say a huge thank you to those front line workers who are making such a difference to our lives, especially our NHS workers.

Please take care and keep safe.

 

Cllr Eileen Lintill

Leader of Chichester District Council