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In a show of solidarity, Lancaster City Council is suspending the collection of rent for its small business tenants to help see them through the coronavirus pandemic.

It is part of a package of measures unveiled by the council today as it looks to support local businesses and their thousands of employees, and will help to release working capital/cash.

Collection of rent will be suspended automatically until further notice, so business and commercial tenants don’t need to take any action. This includes tenants of the Festival Market, Charter Market and the Assembly Rooms.

Councillor Dr Erica Lewis, leader of Lancaster City Council, said: “Businesses have been hit hard and there is a great deal of worry about whether they will be able to continue operating or, if they close down, re-open when we are finally clear of this pandemic.

“The city council has already announced the formation of a dedicated business support team and a £1million fund to help businesses. With this latest measure we hope to take away another potential worry, so businesses can concentrate on what they need to do to keep their business running.

“Some businesses will be receiving rates notices that were printed before the Chancellor’s announcements about rates relief. The city council is working to issue new notices, and will not draw against the direct debits of businesses it believes to be eligible for rates relief.

“We are working hard to start delivering the business grants announced by government. We expect to be able to begin paying next week, but have had to organise a loan ourselves as we wait for the government to provide funds.”

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