BUSINESSES are being encouraged to apply for "vital" funding after £6m was paid out in the last three weeks alone.

Last month, Test Valley Borough Council’s revenues team processed hundreds of thousands of pounds to businesses across the borough as they were forced to close due to national restrictions.

Despite the significant amount of £6m paid out in the last three weeks, those who haven’t come forward are being asked to do so, particularly in the retail, hospitality and leisure sectors, as well as those in events and who have had to close.

The Additional Restrictions Grant (ARG), the Local Restrictions Support Grant and new lockdown grants are all available for businesses, struggling as a result of the pandemic.

Payments range from £1,000 to £4,500 depending on the restrictions and rateable value.

New lockdown grants of up to £9,000 will also supply a one-off payment to businesses affected by lockdown but businesses will only be eligible if they pay business rates.

Finance portfolio holder, councillor Maureen Flood, said: “I’m extremely pleased that such a large sum of funding has been passed to those who really need it in our Test Valley economy.

"However, there remains opportunities for those who may be eligible to apply, and I really hope that businesses and organisations take up that chance."