Marches LEP vows to help lead business recovery from coronavirus

May 26, 2020
Uptake of coronavirus business support measures

The leader of the Marches Local Enterprise Partnership today vowed to do everything possible to ensure the region receives all the support it needs to recover from the coronavirus crisis.
Marches LEP chair Mandy Thorn says the partnership – the business-led body charged with delivering economic growth across Herefordshire, Shropshire and Telford & Wrekin – will work tirelessly to help businesses get safely back on their feet as lockdown restrictions are eased.
Her comments came as the final results of a major survey into the impact of coronavirus on the region’s businesses – completed by more than 500 separate enterprises – were revealed.
They showed:
• 98% of businesses have been affected by the outbreak.
• 51.4% are not eligible for Small Business Rates Relief or Rural Rates Relief and therefore not eligible for the Small Business Grant Fund.
• 44.3% have applied for/taken advantage of the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme to furlough staff.
• 35% have applied for/taken advantage of the £10,000 cash grant scheme for small businesses.
• 12% have applied for/taken advantage of the Coronavirus Business Interruption loans Scheme.
• 44% have suffered a complete loss of sales.
• 25.5% say cashflow is their greatest challenge, whilst 15% say it is falling sales.
• 72% say financial support and advice would be the most helpful response for their business.
The survey – which ran throughout April – has proved to be the most responded-to in the LEP’s history.
Mrs Thorn said: “Many businesses took the time to tell us their own personal stories about how Covid-19 has affected them. These were often heartbreaking to read. Well-run, successful businesses have seen their very existence put in doubt through absolutely no fault of their own.
“And it is clear that despite everything the Government has done to help, there are still huge numbers of successful businesses which are falling through the cracks of this support and desperately need our help to recover.
“I can assure them that the LEP will be doing everything in its power to lobby Government on their behalf to ensure this fantastic region gets every bit of support it deserves and that the help is available when it is needed and on terms which reflect the huge impact coronavirus has had on company finances.
“The LEP is already working through our Marches Growth Hub and with business support experts to make the existing financial support, expertise and recovery advice available and we will continue to develop a strategic plan for recovery which will ensure existing businesses are supported and new businesses can be launched and prosper.
“To that end, we will continue to work with all our partners – such as the Herefordshire, Shropshire and Telford Business Boards and other business support organisations including the FSB and Chambers of Commerce – towards recovery.
“Our survey has given us a powerful body of evidence on which to help shape the region’s recovery and we are tremendously grateful to all those who took the time to take part.”

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The Marches Local Enterprise Partnership has now ceased trading and transferred all its functions to Shropshire Council working with Telford & Wrekin Council and Herefordshire Council, in line with the UK Government's plans for devolution.

The Marches LEP was established in 2011 and hands over an impressive legacy from its 13-year life. In that time the LEP invested over £196m in projects across the Marches, securing in excess of £100m of match funding and supported more than 66,000 business interactions.

The schemes supported have made tangible differences to local communities, increasing skills, creating jobs and improving the physical appearance of many towns.

We would like to thank all the LEP Board Members who have given their time freely over the life of the LEP, as well as all the staff who worked for the LEP over the years. We also want to thank our delivery partners, local education providers and local, regional and national stakeholders who helped us achieve so much.

The Marches Growth Hub will continue to support businesses and will be managed by Shropshire Council, supported by Telford and Wrekin and Herefordshire Councils. Each of the three Local Authorities will also continue to provide direct business support locally. Details of this support will be available through the Marches Growth Hub website and from the Local Authorities directly. Website: | email:

The Marches Careers Hub will continue to be delivered and will be managed by Shropshire Council, supported by Telford & Wrekin and Herefordshire Councils. Website: | email:

For any queries about Getting Building Fund (GBF), Local Growth Fund (LGF) and Marches Investment Fund (MIF) projects supported by the Marches LEP please contact:

For any finance queries please contact:

The solvent liquidation of the Marches LEP is being managed by the Evelyn Partners Limited. For any matter related to this please contact:

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