Riot-Hit Firms Urged To Apply For Aid

Several ways of seeking financial help

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Merton businesses are being urged to take advantage of financial help being offered to firms caught up in last week's looting and arson attacks.

Central Government has announced a £20 million high street support package to help businesses get themselves back on track in the wake of the violence.

And subject to an assessment on a case-by-case basis, Merton Council has the power to either reduce business rates or exempt those businesses, whose trading has been interrupted as a result of the riots, from paying business rates all together.

Shops in Colliers Wood, Wimbledon town centre and Wimbledon Village were all affected to some extent by the unrest. Colliers Wood was worst hit, where at least three shops in the Priory and Tandem shopping centres were set ablaze and many looted.

Businesses which have sustained financial loss should call Merton council on 0208-545-3751 to arrange a premises assessment.

For insurance claims, businesses should claim under the Riots Damages Act.  On this occasion, the government has extended the usual 14 day period to 42 days.  Claiming under the Riot Damages Act even allows businesses which are not insured to make a claim.

Leader of Merton Council Councillor Stephen AlambritisLeader of Merton Council Councillor Stephen Alambritis (left) said: "We want to support all businesses in the borough, but especially the independent business owners who put everything they have into building up their enterprise.

"These are the people who have been hit the hardest by the rioters. Small businesses contribute about 50% towards the country’s turnover. This demonstrates how small businesses are the life blood of many communities up and down the country. I urge all those businesses whose trading has been affected by the rioting to get in touch and book an assessment."

Merton Chamber of Commerce operations manager Helen Clark Bell added: "Over the past week we have been in touch with the majority of businesses that have been affected by the disturbances in the local area. As the borough's business support organisation, we are able to offer all businesses in Merton a wide range of expertise and guidance and would encourage them to contact us on our dedicated business helpline 0208-619-0700."

South London Business director of business support Ross Feeney said: "Businesses and business communities affected by the recent riots and vandalism need support to get back in business as soon as possible. We must work hard in the coming weeks to repair, restore and rebuild not only the physical damage, but also the reputational damage to south London's economy."

He said South London Business would be making its expert business advisors available, free of charge, to help any business in South London directly affected by looting or vandalism. These businesses will be offered a free Business Recovery Clinic, with an expert advisor.

August 17, 2011