Councils have been working ‘at pace’ to identify and contact eligible businesses to support them to apply for government funding since 1 April, and continue to distribute the cash as quickly as possible.
Some councils have set up dedicated teams and redeployed staff to make sure they can quickly process applications, according to the LGA. They are also using websites, social media and local media to reach the businesses that they do not hold details for but are eligible for funding.
As first went to press, examples included:
- more than eight in 10 eligible businesses in Telford and Wrekin receiving grant payments of more than £14 million
- Oxford City Council distributing £1 million a day in support to businesses
- 10,000 Cornish businesses paid a total of £116 million by Cornwall Council within two days of the local authority receiving government funding
- Stroud District Council distributing £10 million to businesses in just one day
- more than £6 million in grants paid to businesses by Wychavon District Council.
Wiltshire Council is providing seven-days-a-week support for local businesses affected by the coronavirus outbreak with approximately 60 members of staff – the majority of whom have been redeployed from other roles within the council – being mobilised to help verify and assess the grant forms being submitted by local businesses for vital 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 to 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 as quickly as possible.”