MORE cash is being made available to struggling businesses as part of the second nationwide lockdown up to next month.

Since the pandemic began in March, Barnsley Council has supported 4,134 businesses financially, by providing more than £44m in grants to protect the local economy.

The refreshed government scheme, which aims to support businesses that must fully close due to the new restrictions brought in yesterday, is now available.

Any company eligible will be able to claim for a grant of up to £3,000 over a four-week period.

A discretionary scheme provided by the council will also be available for businesses that can remain open, but whose finances may be affected.

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Barnsley Council bosses say they are committed to supporting local businesses during this period, and a number of businesses have already been contacted regarding financial aid.

Council leader Sir Steve Houghton said: “We’ve worked with our neighbouring South Yorkshire local authorities and the Sheffield City Region to get more funding from the government.

“This includes £30m to support the region’s businesses, and £11m to support public health measures such as boosting the national NHS Test and Trace programme at a local level.

“Although these additional restrictions come as no surprise, it’s difficult to see our borough in such a severe situation.

“We understand the impact this virus is having on people’s daily lives and on jobs and businesses, but Barnsley cases are spreading from young to old, putting more lives in danger, leading to more people in our hospital, more people becoming seriously ill, and sadly more people dying.

“We must act now to save lives and prevent our NHS from being overwhelmed.

“Barnsley’s outbreak control plan is driving our local approach to reduce the impact Covid-19 in our communities. It provides us with a route to exit local restrictions when cases are under control, and it’s safe to ease restrictions.

“I want to thank residents for their efforts so far and I appreciate it has been challenging, but we need to pull together and double our efforts to get us through this pandemic.”

The Chancellor, Rishi Sunak, announced a winter economy plan but Barnsley Central MP Dan Jarvis - who is also the Mayor of Sheffield City Region - believes parts of this, such as the extension of the 15 per cent VAT cut for the tourism and hospitality sector, will not help businesses that are shut due to the restrictions.

He has called on the treasury to provide a targeted package for Barnsley’s economy, including specific support for businesses in the hospitality, culture, arts and recreation sectors.

“The government must also set out a clear strategy of how we exit local restrictions and start the job of recovery and renewal in our economy and society,” he added.

“Rather than levelling up, the government risks doubling down on economic, health and social inequality and entrenching it for generations to come.

“They must deliver on their promises and not turn their back on people and businesses across Barnsley and the north.”