Councils sitting on £1bn of unspent Covid grants

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Councils are sitting on £850m price of Covid grants for hospitality companies that needed to shut due to Omicron.

Plus there may be one other £350m price of Covid grants nonetheless unspent from earlier rounds of Covid-19 small enterprise grants.

Final December the Authorities introduced a £1bn package deal of one-off grants price as much as £6,000 per premises for companies within the hospitality and leisure sectors as a part of its omicron enterprise help – price a complete of as much as £683m for England alone for an estimated 200,000 companies.

The Omicron Hospitality and Leisure Grant scheme supplied one-off money grants of as much as £6,000.

Mike Cherry, nationwide chairman of the Federation of Small Companies, mentioned: “Near a billion kilos price of enterprise help grants for these most in want are nonetheless but to achieve them. It’s exasperating to see that, in any case this time, some authorities nonetheless haven’t bought their homes so as.”

It might be that hospitality companies need to wait till March earlier than they see the Omicron help grants of their financial institution accounts.

Cherry instructed The Instances that with small companies going through an enormous hike in nationwide insurance coverage and will increase in enterprise charges payments from April, “this may’t come quickly sufficient”.

There are enormous disparities between native authorities as to the proportion of Covid-19 grants distributed, acording to the FSB. Councils within the southwest have distributed solely 4 per cent of the out there funds, on common, whereas these in Yorkshire and Humber have spent 21 per cent of their grant allocation.

Native authorities counter that these grants are “unclaimed moderately than undistributed” and that they’re having to take care of a number of timeframes when grants had been distributed, mixed with anti-fraud checks.

Kwasi Kwarteng, the enterprise secretary, has instructed native authorities to disburse any remaining funding, whereas Paul Scully, the enterprise minister, has urged councils to shortly get the Omicron grants to firms.

Additional studying

Companies struggling to repay £20bn of Covid loans

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