Manchester businesses helped on the post-riots road to recovery

By Stephen Sumner

Businesses forced to close because of August’s riots are finally starting to see the benefits of a Government scheme aimed at helping the High Street.

In addition to those damaged by looting, nearly 400 businesses have made claims after they had to shut for security reasons.

Community Secretary Eric Pickles said yesterday that hundreds of businesses across the country have already benefited from the scheme.

“Both central and local government are making sure the innocent victims of these mindless acts of looting and violence are not left to pick up the pieces on their own,” he said.

“Real help is being delivered to local firms and local residents.”

Manchester businesses have applied for compensation for a total of £614,000 to cover rates, finance building repairs and encourage customers back to the affected areas.

Almost £85,000 has been paid out so far, with a further £122,000 agreed and on its way.

Manchester City Council was allocated £1 million of the government’s £20 million High Street Support Scheme (HSSC), which was set up following the riots to aid recovery.

Of a total of 359 businesses, 79 independent businesses applied for rates relief to cover money they were unable to earn during the days they were closed as a result of the riots.

There were also seven group bids made by umbrella companies, which are claiming on behalf of 280 businesses.

A council spokesperson said: “We are still waiting for the group bids to be approved by the Department for Communities and Local Government, after which we will receive the funding to be able to pay out to those businesses.”

The council is waiting to hear if four of the group bids, which total £408,000, are eligible.

The HSSC was set up in August to help businesses get back on their feet, funded jointly by the Departments for Communities and Local Government, and Business Innovation and Skills.

Councils are keen for shops to recover ahead of Christmas trading and the boost it will bring to economy.

Mr Pickles said when it was set up: “We will stand side by side with communities as they rebuild their lives.”

Almost 200 people have appeared at Manchester City Magistrates’ Court charged with riot-related offences.

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