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Cambridge City Council

City council announces initiatives to support business during coronavirus emergency

News release from 23/03/2020

CAMBRIDGE City Council has announced a range of actions in support of city businesses, including Cambridge Market and council commercial tenants, to help them manage cashflow in the period before the full range of government coronavirus-related support becomes available. 

The council’s support includes:

On Cambridge Market:

  • For traders who are required to self-isolate, a rent-free period for the duration of self-isolation. This will be backdated to the start date of the isolation for those who are already self-isolating;
  • For all market traders, a rent-free period, with immediate effect, for up to three months, where they are not eligible for government support. For those who are eligible for government support, the council will work with them through an initial rental holiday period to ensure they can access the support required to cover their costs;
  • For those traders who want to end their lease, the normal four-week notice period will be waived.

Following national guidance, the market currently remains open until further notice.

However, the council takes the coronavirus and the related risks to residents very seriously, and would therefore strongly urge all residents to stay at home and only go out for essentials such as food shopping in line with national advice.

Whilst the market remains open it is a source of fresh food and is held in the open air. We expect traders who continue to trade on the market, and all shoppers, to adhere to government guidance on hygiene and social distancing and where possible, to use card payments only.

For council commercial tenants:

  • Help to access the relevant government support schemes;
  • Suspension of any rent arrears action for three months;
  • Tailored discussions with individual businesses to include the possibility of shorter notice periods for termination, lease surrenders and negotiations on space reductions.

The council has around 400 commercial tenants in a variety of different sized businesses.

Cllr Lewis Herbert, Leader of the Council, said: “We understand the concerns raised by businesses and have been working closely with government to understand the details around their package of support to business. 

“Our own council resources are severely stretched and it is right the government is tackling these issues at national level. We want to help make sure all who are eligible can access the national support package.

“We understand that cashflow is an immediate problem for many until they can access those funds, assuming they are eligible. We will work closely with businesses to understand their individual needs and status, pending the roll out of the national support.

“All of our services are operating in line with the government advice on good hygiene and social distancing.”