Cotswold District Council (CDC) has made payments to 233 small and micro-businesses under the Government’s “Discretionary Business Grants Scheme”. The payments come just three weeks after the scheme opened. A further 13 businesses have been allocated grants which the council will pay when it receives further information.
The government scheme is intended for very small businesses that do not qualify other government support. Central Government allocated up to 5% of the funding given to businesses through earlier grants to be used to fund the new scheme. This has meant that the Council had £1.7 million available to fund local businesses.
Although grants of up to £25,000 were allowable under the scheme, the limited funding available and the high number of applications in the district has meant that the council has made no payment above £10,000. The lowest grant is £1,000. On average businesses received £6,995. Grants were calculated as a percentage of lost turnover up to a maximum of £10,000 from the start of lockdown until the end of May.
Cllr Mike Evemy, Deputy Leader and Cabinet Member for Finance at CDC said: “I am proud that our team has done such a remarkable job in receiving, reviewing and processing payments to the successful applicants in just three weeks. I just wish more support was available. We have kept very close to the Government’s guidelines in determining which businesses will receive a grant.
“I am particularly concerned that there is a ‘missing middle’ of businesses in the Cotswolds that are not large enough to make use of other government schemes but do not meet the criteria for this scheme either.
“I have written to the Minister of State at BEIS, asking that councils should be allowed to use some money that remains unallocated from the Government funding we received for business grants to support this group.”
93 businesses who applied for support did not meet the criteria for funding from the Scheme, although 22 of these were eligible for other government support and encouraged to apply.