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Support for businesses to prepare for 2021

Cumbrian businesses are being encouraged to take up free bespoke advice to support them through 2021 from Cumbria Local Enterprise Partnership (CLEP).

CLEP is offering free expert accountancy and legal support to the county’s Small and Medium Enterprises (SMEs), alongside more general advice on how businesses can prepare to survive and thrive during 2021.

Advice is also available on how to access the various grants schemes available from Government, including the £4.6 billion package of lockdown grants to support businesses and protect jobs announced by Chancellor of the Exchequer Rishi Sunak this week.

CLEP Chief Executive Jo Lappin said: “2020 has been a year like no other for our businesses, the majority of which have faced the most difficult trading circumstances in living memory. The start to 2021 has already demonstrated that these challenges have not gone away and as such we want to make sure that our businesses are in the best possible shape not only to survive in 2021, but also to thrive.

“The latest lockdown will provide further challenges to those sectors that have had to close and we need to make sure that they have the opportunity to access as much help and financial support as possible. CLEP can help advise these businesses and unlock all of the funding available to them.

“We know that businesses in other sectors have also been affected and these too might want to get some free advice and support on how they can make sure that their businesses can navigate whatever challenges 2021 throws at them.”

Mrs. Lappin responded to the latest package of financial support from Government, saying: “Whilst the Chancellor’s announcement is to be welcomed, CLEP will continue to work with our businesses to push for further and longer term financial support for our businesses.”

The Chancellor announced a one-off top-up grant of up to £9,000 for those businesses that have been made to close during the latest lockdown.

Businesses in the retail, hospitality and leisure sectors will be closed until at least mid-February.

The one-off grant comes in addition to existing business support from Government, including grants worth up to £3,000 for closed businesses, and up to £2,100 per month for affected businesses once they reopen.

A further £594 million is also available for local authorities and the Devolved Administrations to support other businesses not eligible for the grants, which might be affected by the restrictions. In those circumstances, businesses should apply to their local authorities.

Mrs Lappin added: “CLEP can help guide businesses to the appropriate agencies to access funding. In addition, our business experts can provide businesses with bespoke advice on any specific issues that they might be facing.

“This support is only available until 31 March 2021, and as such it provides an excellent opportunity to prepare for the 2021/22 financial year. There is no cost to the business and as such I would really encourage all SMEs to get in touch and see how we might help.”

CLEP is providing this service hand-in-hand with local professional service firms and other advisory organisations to ensure that the service meets the need of the individual business.

Anyone interested in accessing support can contact CLEP Project Manager Helen Atherton on 07791 804031 or via e-mail at

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