Hospitality and Retail business across the East Midlands are teetering on the brink due to severe financial losses whilst Government Grants remain unspent. It was revealed on Thursday that, nationally, £1.3bn of coronavirus related grants allocated to Local Authorities by the Government has been unspent.
Rangewell, the business finance specialists, have supported many businesses in the East Midlands and have seen first-hand how slow and bureaucratic grant allocations are affecting local businesses.
Therefore they are calling for:
- Each Local Authority to:
- Disclose within 7 days the amount of COVID grants that have been unallocated or unspent;
- Disclose within three months which local businesses have been supported by the grants allocated to date.
- Unallocated funds to be allocated promptly and pragmatically by the end of October to businesses most affected by local or national government restrictions (eg. national curfews / local lockdowns, etc.).
- National Government to expedite the launch of new, more focused, business support schemes – again focused on businesses in sectors and regions most affected by restrictions imposed by local or national government.
- All new and unused funds to be allocated in consultation with Local Enterprise Partnerships (LEPs) and local Chambers of Commerce who have real-time knowledge of where local issues are greatest and on the ground experience in previously distributing Government grants, such as the Rural Development Program.
Nic Conner, Rangewell’s Head of Research said, “Frankly speaking, it is a bit of a lottery for businesses if they received the grant or not, with different Councils using variants of mythology to mix results. We saw Bradford, one of the first areas of the UK to go into a local lockdown, only able to allocate 89% of the Government grants. It’s not been good enough.
“We are calling on the Government to channel the unspent money to struggling Retail and Hospitality businesses via local Chambers of Commerce and LEPs; who not only have experience distributing other Government grants, but have a real on the ground understanding of their local business community.”
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