BUSINESSES in Worcestershire have been given nearly £200million in government support packages to help them bounce back from the coronavirus crisis.

Figures released by the Office for National Statistics show that more than 12,000 people living in West Worcestershire have been furloughed – a support package worth £91 million – and 4,100 people have accessed the self-employment support scheme, getting £12 million.

And the British Business Bank has reported that more than 1,500 companies in West Worcestershire have been able to secure loans worth more than £71 million.

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More than 560 businesses and seven nurseries have been given business rates holidays and hospitality businesses have accessed a range of special measures including the reduction of VAT and one-off grants.

The business interruption scheme and bounceback loans have helped local firms to access capital to stay afloat during the crisis protecting jobs and livelihoods.

West Worcestershire MP Harriett Baldwin said: “I know from my postbag that not everyone has received exactly the support they wanted, and the Treasury Select Committee on which I sit has written to the Chancellor to highlight this.

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“The Government has, however, moved incredibly fast to roll out a number of schemes to help businesses of all sizes and the levels of support are eye-watering.

“It’s been important to protect jobs during lockdown and I hope that as many posts as possible are protected as conditions ease and we return to the new-normal way of life.

“I’m urging people to support our independent retailers by shopping in local stores, dining out in local eateries and visiting local attractions and by doing so, we can all help to get our local economy back on track.”