A BUSINESS owner in Malvern has called for more support to be made available to help start-ups deal with coronavirus.

Jack Wratten, founder of Bloom.Space, said start-ups like his need access to the raft of government cash made available to help businesses. He said: “We need to acknowledge that investment has stopped and won’t re-start anytime soon. Many start-ups can’t access any part of the government support packages which will cause many to fail in the next few weeks and they won’t re-start and new start-ups won’t start at all.”

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£3.5 million has been made available to help businesses deal with coronavirus. Malvern Hills District Council has given grants of either £10,000 or £25,000 to more than 300 businesses in the district including barbers, restaurants and engineering companies.

Businesses in receipt of small business rate relief should be eligible for the £10,000 grant. The larger grant is for businesses in the retail, leisure and hospitality sectors, who have a rateable value of between £15,000 and £51,000.

District council leader Sarah Rouse said: “We cannot stress enough that we are urging businesses to register so they can be paid quickly. We estimate that 700 businesses in the district are yet to register. Our local businesses are the backbone of our community and we want to ensure they are receiving the financial support they need to continue trading.”

Beverley Nielsen, West Midlands Mayoral candidate for the Liberal Democrats and MHDC portfolio holder for economic development and tourism, said start-ups in Malvern’s tech sector urgently need support from the government.

She said: “I think the British government needs to think more radically and look at what is being provided through the US stimulus package to their SMEs and innovators. This ‘pro-growth package’ is directly targeted to support small flexible businesses and is exactly the sort of approach we should adopt to ensure we are fuelling the innovators that will be so vital in our economy after the crisis subsides.”

Dr Adrien Burden, technical director of Key IQ at the Wyche Innovation Centre, said “Some companies are eligible for a business grant linked to small business rate relief, and others may consider furloughing staff, but what worries me is the many that fall between these rather rigid schemes, as a lot of early stage start-ups can’t afford to simply put their operations on hold.”