MORE THAN £40 million has been handed out to thousands of businesses across Test Valley amid the coronavirus crisis, it has been revealed.

A Test Valley Borough Council (TVBC) document unveiled £43 million in grants and rate relief has been injected into more than 3,500 businesses over the last three months.

Now community leaders have shared their thoughts on the cash injection, with one councillor worrying another "period of austerity" could be on the cards to pay off Government debts.

Deputy leader for TVBC, Cllr Nick Adams-King, said: "The £43 million was split between about £30 million in grants and £13 million in rate relief.

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"We have still had the odd request come in for the grants, so we have still been paying them out, but it is a trickle compared to the flood [of requests] at the beginning.

"It has opened my eyes to the variety of businesses we have in Test Valley and I am sorry we have not been able to help everybody, but that is an enormous amount of money that has gone into our economy to keep our businesses afloat.

"Test Valley and the Government have done the very best we can to keep the community support going and now it is down to us to shop local, because if we don't support them they won't be there [in the future]."

Romsey Advertiser: Cllr Nick Adams-KingCllr Nick Adams-King

However, Liberal Democrat and Romsey Cupernham Cllr Dorothy Baverstock expressed her fears over the borrowing, claiming "taxes will be raised" to balance the books in the future.

She said: "All of the great things that are being given out by the Government will have a very big effect on the population, because we will go back to raising taxes to cover these things which is really worrying.

"Someone like myself will probably not be paying for it for the next 30 years, but I think there will be another period of austerity.

"The Government won't talk about now, but I can't see how they will get the money to pay off the loans otherwise."

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Romsey Advertiser: Cllr Dorothy BaverstockCllr Dorothy Baverstock

However, she added the cash boost for businesses was "a very good deal" to help make sure they "do not go under" amid the pandemic.