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Thousands of businesses to receive grant funding

By Dominic Robertson | Bridgnorth | Coronavirus | Published:

Councils have approved grant applications to around 3,000 businesses, with money set to arrive in some accounts today.

Firms to start receiving grants

Shropshire Council said it had processed more than 1,800 applications since last Wednesday (APRIL 1), while Telford & Wrekin Council has approved 1,200.

Businesses in the retail, hospitality and leisure sectors, can apply for government funding being administered by councils through the coronavirus Covid-19 Small Business Grant Fund, and Retail Hospitality & Leisure Grant Fund.

Around £91m of funding has been provided by the government to Shropshire Council to pass directly onto businesses through these schemes. It is one of the largest allocations to any council in the country and it is estimated that more than 7,000 businesses can access the money, providing they meet the criteria set by the Government.

In Telford & Wrekin grant support payments approved so far total more than £14.1 million, which is going to 1,207 borough businesses, representing 84 per cent of the applications the council has so far received.

In total the Council expects that up to 2,400 businesses could apply for the funding.

Peter Nutting, Leader of Shropshire Council, said: “This funding is a huge and vital boost for businesses in the county in these challenging times, and making sure that the money reaches those who need it as soon as possible is a huge undertaking for the council.

“I’m therefore delighted that our officers have been able to process almost 2,000 applications in just a few days, and that money will soon be reaching the bank accounts of those businesses that have applied for funding so far.

“If any businesses haven’t yet applied for this funding, I urge them to do so as soon as possible so that we can get the money to them.

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“This funding is very welcome and will be vital to our many small businesses in these difficult times.

“We’ve never had to do anything like this before, or on this scale. We assured businesses that we would be working as fast as we possibly can, and I hope these figures show that we are doing just that.”

Telford & Wrekin Council Leader Shaun Davies said: “We are aware that borough businesses of every size are going through a very tough and difficult time.

“We are doing all we can, with our teams working during weekends as well to process grant applications as quickly as possible to get these payments to businesses, as we know this is desperately needed.

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“We ask those businesses with outstanding grant applications to bear with us as we can’t give a definite timescale on when to expect a response to their application - verifying applications is a complex process that may require further information from businesses in some cases although we have simplified the application process as much as we can.

“We know this must be frustrating, but we will get back to each and every request as quickly as possible."

Under the Small Business Grant Fund, all businesses in England in receipt of either Small Business Rate Relief or Rural Rate Relief in the business rates system will be eligible for a payment of £10,000, providing they meet the eligibility rules.

To be included, a business must be eligible for either relief as at 11 March 2020 and have a rateable value of £15,000 or less.

Under the Retail, Hospitality and Leisure Grant, eligible businesses in England in receipt of the Expanded Retail Discount (which covers retail, hospitality and leisure) with a rateable value of less than £51,000 will be eligible for cash grants of £10,000 or £25,000 per property.

Eligible businesses in these sectors with a property that has a rateable value of up to and including £15,000 will receive a grant of £10,000.

Eligible businesses in these sectors with a property that has a rateable value of over £15,000 and less than £51,000 will receive a grant of £25,000.

Businesses that don’t pay into the business rates system are not included in this scheme, and there are some other exceptions

Businesses can visit either councils website for more information.

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