BUSINESSES hit by the second national lockdown now have access to further financial support.

Braintree Council says it has around £3 million to hand out to firms hit by the tough restrictions in November.

The 'Additional Restrictions’ grant scheme is on offer to businesses who were able to trade, but were severely affected by the restrictions.

The scheme will award eligible businesses up to £3,000 in support based on their size and the extent of their fixed costs.

Grants of up to £10,000 will also be available in exceptional circumstances to businesses supporting important sectors of the economy.

Market traders, taxi firms, businesses operating from home, companies in shared work spaces and those in the events sector are amongst the businesses which will have the opportunity to apply for the grant.

Braintree Council's economic development boss Tom Cunningham said: "We can use our discretion with this particular scheme to help some of the businesses who so far have been unable to access any other form of grant support.

"We want to help as many businesses as we can, as quickly as we can, to safeguard as many jobs as possible so as to protect our local economy."

Braintree Council says it has paid out £709,235 in financial support to 474 businesses affected by the national lockdown.