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Ministerial thanks after £25 million in business support grants paid out

Released: Tuesday, 05 May 2020

Business secretary Alok Sharma has praised Adur & Worthing Councils for distributing more than £25 million of COVID-19 business support grants - and now urging those eligible but yet to claim to come forward to receive vital funds.

With hundreds of firms and community groups impacted by lockdown, the Councils have acted fast to ensure all those eligible receive grants of up to £25,000 to support them in this difficult time.

At the end of last week all of the 2,100 organisations who have submitted their details to the Councils have been paid.

However, records show there are still about 400 eligible organisations who have been contacted but are yet to come forward to receive this vital lifeline. These include community groups, charities and sports clubs, as well as firms which have business rate accounts but do not pay any rates.

Business Secretary Alok Sharma said:

“Small business owners up and down the country are facing challenges on a scale never seen before and the financial support package we have put in place reflects that.”

“I am extremely pleased to see that Adur and Worthing businesses have already received grants totalling over £25 million and I thank the Councils for their hard work. I urge any business that believes it is eligible, but has yet to be contacted by their local authority, to make themselves known to them through the Councils' website.”

Adur and Worthing were among the first authorities in Sussex to start distributing government COVID-19 support scheme funds to eligible businesses.

Qualifying small organisations (such as those receiving Small Business Rate Relief or Rural Rate) will receive a grant of £10,000 while operators in the retail, hospitality and leisure sectors will receive grants of up to £25,000 providing their rateable value does not exceed £51,000.

Letters to about 2,500 eligible firms across Adur and Worthing were distributed a fortnight ago, directing company owners to complete an easy-to-use online form on the Councils website.

Those who are yet to come forward have been written to again, with teams following these up with phone calls and emails in the coming days.

The Councils scheme involves a three stage process. First businesses are asked to check their eligibility and then gather all relevant information before completing an online form on the Councils website. A confirmation email will then be received. After a short vetting process, those eligible will receive notification a payment will be made.

Payments can only be made to the registered ratepayer for the eligible organisation.

A Councils spokesman said:

“We know this government funding is a vital lifeline to businesses during these difficult times which is why we have worked so hard to process all the grants as quickly as possible.”

“All those eligible who have come forward have now received the grant. But there are still about 400 organisations with business rate accounts which have not yet come forward. So we encourage those organisations - such as community groups, sports clubs and charities - to check their eligibility so that all the allocated funds are distributed to those in need.”

“We are also pleased to announce that, following government guidance, in the coming weeks we will be opening the pot up to those smaller firms which have perhaps fallen through the net.”

“We are also pleased to announce that, following government guidance, we will be opening the pot up to those smaller firms which have perhaps fallen through the net in the coming weeks.”

Following new government guidance, the Councils are also working up plans to widen out the grant support to additional smaller businesses which have seen a significant drop of income due to Coronavirus restriction measures.

Full details on who is eligible will be provided after further information is received by Whitehall.

For more details see our coronavirus business support page.

(PR20-041)

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