APPLICATIONS are open for an emergency fund to aid businesses who may have missed out on previous support packages.

National lockdown and localised restrictions have had significant impacts on many businesses and, while some have benefitted from national support schemes, others haven’t met the criteria.

To address an identified gap, applications are being invited for funding from the previously announced £40m COVID emergency fund to support the hospitality and leisure supply chain, non-essential retail, and self-employed, sole traders, licensed market traders and limited companies based at home who predominantly supply the hospitality and leisure sectors.

The Hospitality, Leisure and Retail Grants (Expanded Scheme) will be open for applications that meet the eligibility criteria from 10am today, Monday, November 30 and will close at 5pm on Friday, December 11.

Business must be based in the city region (covering the local authority areas of St Helens, Knowsley, Halton, Liverpool, Sefton and Wirral).

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Cllr Kate Groucutt, St Helens Council’s cabinet member for education, skills and business, said: “I know it has been a very difficult time for everyone, not least for our businesses that have been forced to close at various stages throughout this pandemic.

“This latest funding aims to help those businesses that have been unable to access other national support schemes. These businesses play a vital role in supporting jobs in our local communities and we need to ensure that they can once again open for business.

“Our council teams are prioritising this scheme to ensure that approved applications can be processed quickly.”