BUSINESSES in the Dorset Council area that were ordered to close during the second national lockdown may be eligible for support through the government's Local Restrictions Support Grant (LRSG).

The council is administering the grant and applications can be made online.

Eligible businesses will be paid a fixed single amount to cover a four-week period.

To qualify businesses must be within the Dorset Council area and must have been open as usual before the November lockdown restrictions came into being.

They must also provide services in person to customers from the premises, to have been required to close because of the restrictions and to have been paying business rates for the premises before restrictions started.

Cllr Gary Suttle, portfolio holder for finance, commercial and capital strategy, said: "The government’s Local Restrictions Support Grant is there to support businesses that have been forced to close by the temporary local restrictions.

“We know this second lockdown will hit local businesses hard, so hope these one-off payments will go some way to help those in need.

“This is an extremely stressful and difficult time for all businesses.

"I’d like to reassure people that our team will be working hard to process the applications quickly, so that businesses get these funds as soon as possible.”

For a business that had a rateable value of £15,000 or under on November 5, it will receive a payment of £1,334 per 28 day qualifying restriction period.

More than £15,000 but less than £51,000 rateable value as of November 5 means a £2,000 payment per 28-day qualifying period.

And for businesses with a rateable value of £51,000 or above, a £3,000 payment is available.

A Dorset Council spokesman said: "For businesses which do not have rateable values, the business pages on Dorset Council’s website has details of other government schemes and initiatives that businesses and organisations may be able to access and information on where to find additional support."