Businesses are being offered financial support of up to £10,000 to enable their workforce to access regular Covid-19 testing.

The City of Wolverhampton Council's Business Testing Grant is available to any organisation which commits to over 75% of its workforce being tested twice a week.

Richard Lawrence, the City of Wolverhampton Council's Director of Regeneration, said: "As our city starts its journey of recovery it is crucial that businesses and other vital services are able to continue operating safely.

"The ability to carry out routine rapid Covid-19 testing of staff will help prevent the onward transmission of the virus and protect businesses, employees and the wider community.

"That’s why we are asking all employers in Wolverhampton to ensure that staff members who cannot work from home are able to access rapid testing twice a week, either at one of our public test centres or through on site testing.

"The Business Testing Grant is intended to encourage businesses to embrace rapid testing and to help with any costs this might entail, for instance with PPE and cleaning for on site testing and time away from work for staff attending off site testing.”

Grants of £500 are available to businesses with 1 or 2 employees, £2,000 is available to those with between 3 and 49 employees, businesses with 50-249 staff can apply for grants of £5,000 and grants of £10,000 are available to those employing 250 workers or more.

Subject to meeting the eligibility criteria, businesses will receive 25% of the grant when they apply and the remaining 75% after they demonstrate they have met their weekly commitment to get 75% of staff tested twice a week up to the end of June.

For more details about the Business Testing Grant, and to apply, please visit Business Testing Grant

Mr Lawrence added: “A third of people with Covid-19 don’t have any symptoms of it and could therefore spread the virus onto others unknowingly. Regular testing of employees will help track down these cases and prevent onward transmission.

"I would encourage employers to apply for a Business Testing Grant to help ensure that staff members are able to access rapid testing twice a week.”

Meanwhile, businesses are reminded they have until Wednesday 31 March to apply to the Government's workplace testing scheme. Test kits, support, training and standard operating procedures will be provided by NHS Test and Trace. Businesses can sign up at GOV.UK

Full details of the latest national business support measures can be found at GOV.UK

Businesses with questions about rapid testing for their workforce should email Further advice and guidance on operating businesses in a Covid-secure manner can be found at Trade with Confidence. Information about other business grants available locally can be found at Government Business Grants

Latest figures show there were 61.6 new cases of Covid-19 per 100,000 people in Wolverhampton over the 7 days to 20 March. That means 162 people in the city tested positive for the virus in that 7 day period – though the true number of new cases will likely be higher.