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Council’s £672,000 boost to help struggling firms
A CASH injection of £672,000 has been handed to Worcestershire County Council to help 120 struggling businesses.
The money, which has come from a European kitty, will go towards helping small and medium sized enterprises which are trying to make ends meet.
County Hall teamed up with the Chamber of Commerce to bid for the cash, which is from the West Midlands European Regional Development Fund (ERDF).
It will go towards advising businesses on how to reduce energy and water costs, throw away less waste and increase profits.
It will also mean private companies can bid for grants for installing equipment like boilers, air pumps, air conditioning, insulation and fridges.
Businesses will also get free assessments on their energy use, and advice on how to improve the packaging on the goods they sell.
The cash will last for three years and council chiefs estimate it will help around 120 companies by 2015.
It will also reduce CO2 emissions across the county by 4,500 tonnes per annum.
Councillor Anthony Blagg, cabinet member for the environment and waste, said: “High and fluctuating energy costs can seriously affect small and medium sized enterprises ability to operate profitably.
“This project will help them reduce and take control of their energy, water and waste expenditure, while also tackling their carbon emissions and boosting their green credentials.”
Nicky Griffiths, from Herefordshire and Worcestershire Chamber of Commerce, said: “This project will provide companies with solutions that could generate significant cost savings, impacting positively on the profitability of businesses across the county.”
The ERDF said it was concerned many firms faced being put out of business by escalating energy costs in recent years.
The double-dip recession has hammered balance sheets even further.
Norman Price, who sits on the ERDF management committee, said: “Over recent years small businesses have been faced by high and fluctuating energy costs resulting in significant risk to profits and in some cases, viability.”