An announcement of £20 million of new funding to help businesses get back on track following the effects of the coronavirus pandemic, has been welcomed by MP Bob Seely.

The funding – aimed at small businesses – will come in the form of grants between £1,000 and £5,000 to help visitor economy businesses access specialist professional advice and purchase new equipment and technology.

The money will be distributed through Growth Hubs and £250,000 has been allocated to the Solent Local Enterprise Partnership.

Minister for Regional Growth and Local Government, Simon Clarke, said: “We have always said that we would stand behind our businesses and communities as we rebuild following the coronavirus pandemic. This new funding does exactly that.

“Businesses will be able to use these new grants to pay for the expertise, equipment and technology they need to adapt, recover and rebuild.

“Small and medium-sized businesses are the beating heart of communities; they provide employment and contribute significantly to local economies and we are determined to give them the support they need to continue to thrive.”

Mr Seely said: “I’m glad more support is coming forward from the government and I encourage Island businesses to apply to access the grants if they are eligible.

“I am in regular contact with the business community and what I am hearing loud and clear is that while many businesses are pleased to be open again, the summer season is short, and the winter months will be the time they will struggle the most. I hope that these grants will help to reduce the pressures they are under.

“I will continue to listen and respond to the concerns of local businesses by raising issues with colleagues in Westminster. I encourage Island businesses to contact me if they have any concerns.”

The announcement builds on a £10 million package announced by the minister earlier this month to help to kickstart the tourism industry and support the visitor economy.

The funding is being provided to address immediate needs and all grants must be awarded by 28 February 2021 and all activity fully completed by 31 March 2021.