NORTH East Hampshire’s two local councils have been allocated almost £35 million to support up to 2,607 business properties between them.

Basingstoke and Deane Borough Council has been given £19.7 million to support up to 1,634 businesses during the pandemic.

The government has implemented a plan to pay people's wages through the coronavirus job retention scheme, incorporating more than a million who are employed by the 140,000 businesses which applied for the scheme in the first day alone.

The coronavirus business interruption loan scheme also provides loans of up to £5 million, interest free for 12 months, to small businesses.

MP Ranil Jayawardena said: “This is a hugely challenging time for businesses, especially for the smaller firms that are at the heart of our local community in North East Hampshire.

“However tough the months ahead, we have the resolve and resources to win the fight. This government will do whatever it takes. And its hugely reassuring to know that the support announced by the government has already reached 1,480 businesses in our local area, helping to protect businesses and people’s livelihoods.

“A lot of other support has already been offered too, though I know that not everyone has taken it up. To protect jobs, in addition to these grants, the government is covering 80 per cent of wages for furloughed employees and the self-employed, giving businesses money to cover sick pay and making interest-free loans available to SMEs too.

“No-one is denying that we face challenges and people will have to make sacrifices, but I can assure you that the government is working around the clock to do all that they can to support and protect the public at this difficult time.

"The government is determined to ensure that people get the support they need to do the right thing – to stay at home, protect our NHS and save lives – without having to worry about losing their jobs or not being able to pay their bills – and I know will continue to do whatever it takes.”

The business secretary, Alok Sharma, said: “I am very grateful to local authorities who have been working flat out to ensure these vital funds get to hard-pressed small business owners.

"Government is doing everything we can to support individual councils and help ensure that these grants reach local firms as soon as possible. I urge everyone to keep working at pace to get the money where it is needed quickly.”