A mere 9% of the government’s £11 billion coronavirus support package has been paid out to small firms that were earmarked for support, according to retail estate adviser Altus Group
Small businesses have been allocated around £1 billion in grant funding schemes under the Small Business Grant Fund.
Under the scheme announced last month by the Chancellor Rishi Sunak all businesses in England will be eligible for small business rates relief, which involves a one off cash grant of £10,000. Currently there are 720,400 properties liable for business rates with a rateable value less than £15,000 and are in receipt of small business rates relief.
Robert Hayton, head of UK business rates at Altus Group said: “businesses were initially told by government that they did not need to do anything but are now being told to complete application forms slowing down the process markedly creating additional pressure for small firms already in distress. The money needs to get to those most in need for quicker”.
However the Local Government Association (LGA) The Local Government Association said councils have worked at pace to identify and contact eligible businesses to support them to apply for government funding since April 1 and continue to distribute the cash as quickly as possible.
Some councils they say have set up dedicated teams and redeployed staff to make sure they can quickly process applications. They are also using websites, social media and local media to reach the businesses which they do not hold details for but are eligible for funding.
Cllr Richard Watts, Chair of the LGA’s Resources Board, said:“Councils are leading local efforts to support communities and businesses as they try and cope with the coronavirus outbreak.Government grants are a vital lifeline to businesses struggling at this time and worried about the future. Councils are working fast to ensure businesses eligible for this money are receiving it quickly as possible.”