Posted: Tue 18th Aug 2020
Despite having more than £1bn of their funding allocation still available, local authorities in England have been told by the government that two of the main coronavirus business grant schemes must end by 28 August.
In March the government announced that high street companies paying business rates or eligible for business rates relief can access grants of either £10,000 or £25,000 through the Small Business Grants Fund and the Retail, Leisure and Hospitality Leisure Grants Fund.
The grants were later supplemented by the Local Authority Discretionary Grants Fund which targets businesses in shared workspaces, market traders, bed and breakfasts and charity properties.
Latest government figures show that as of 9 August, English councils had provided £10.87bn in grants from the total £12.33bn available for the business rates scheme. According to The Times, the discrepancy is mostly because of rules that cap how much chain stores can claim for their properties.
The Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy (BEIS) has told local authorities to return any unspent funds and close the schemes by 28 August.
If you think your business is eligible for a grant, you are urged to contact your local council. Here's a spreadsheet with all council application links.
Lobby groups have said the government should re-allocate the funding to businesses that haven't been able to access government support to deal with the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic.
In June, the Treasury Committee said more than one million business owners, self-employed individuals and employees have fallen through the gaps of coronavirus support. It called on the government to take action to help them.
Campaigning organisation Excluded UK says the figure of those unable to get funding is three million.
Chancellor Rishi Sunak has repeatedly refused to agree to new schemes to support excluded businesses.
A BEIS spokesperson said: "We are working with councils to ensure funds get to as many eligible small business owners as possible. Businesses that are eligible but have not yet received grant funding should speak to their council as soon as possible."
We are keeping you updated on the latest information COVID-19 business support, funding and advice in Enterprise Nation's coronavirus business advice hub. Follow Enterprise Nation on Twitter too for updates.