Council welcomes extra support for businesses slipping through funding net
Telford & Wrekin Council’s leader has welcomed the Government’s announcement that it will provide further support for businesses who cannot access the national Small Business Grants Fund after writing to Government last month lobbying for this on behalf of local businesses.
The fund launched last month to help firms with the impact of the coronavirus pandemic.
The Council has to date paid out almost £27 million to around 2,230 businesses in grants and is in the top 10 out of more than 300 English councils for the percentage of money allocated.
However, the Council last month wrote to Chancellor Rishi Sunak and Business Secretary Alok Sharma urging them to do more to help business slipping through the net who did not qualify for this grant.
The Government has said it will give councils in total £617 million more although it has yet to confirm how much each authority will get.
Government says the new funding is aimed at small businesses with ongoing fixed property-related costs, such as businesses in shared spaces who have been excluded for the initial funding. The Council highlighted examples of these in the borough to the Minister and Chancellor.
The Council is now waiting details from Government before it can determine how to allocate the funding to borough businesses.
The Council is committed to revisiting the almost 500 applications from businesses previously rejected because these didn’t meet Government criteria for the scheme’s initial stage.
Council leader Shaun Davies said: “I welcome that the Government has listened to the case that we made for the many borough businesses who, through no fault of their own, were slipping through the net.
“We will automatically revisit those unsuccessful applications we have already received to help us develop a local scheme. We will make the process as easy as possible but may require further additional information from them depending on the Government’s guidance.
“While any extra help for businesses is welcome, if the amount we receive is proportionate to a council’s size, we can expect around £1.6 million.
“Given that we can also expect more applications from firms who didn’t apply first time around because they didn’t meet criteria, such a sum would not go far.
“As soon as we have more detail from Government we will develop a local scheme and do all we can to get the extra funding out to businesses as quickly as possible.”