Telford & Wrekin Council launches local small business support scheme

Telford & Wrekin Council is launching the Discretionary Business Grants Fund to continue to support businesses hit by the coronavirus pandemic.

The Council has received £1.47m from the Government for this fund, compared with an allocation of more than £35m for the first scheme.

Due to the limited value of this fund and government criteria, Telford & Wrekin Council says it expects to have no discretion over who it awards payments to.

It also expects that far fewer borough businesses will be able to benefit from this new government funding scheme.

Small and micro businesses who have fallen through the net of the Government’s initial business support scheme will be able to apply for this fund and will need to submit a new application, even if they have previously applied for a coronavirus business support grant and been rejected.

The scheme will not be open to any business awarded a grant in the previous Small Business grant fund which opened in April and for which the Council has paid out more than £27m to over 2,300 businesses.

Other eligible small and micro businesses will be able to apply, if they meet the criteria as directed by the government. Applications will open on 9am, Monday 25 May and will close promptly at 5pm, Friday 29 May.

Businesses can read full details of criteria and if eligible can apply at www.telford.gov.uk/discretionarygrants

Cabinet Member for Council Finance and Governance, Councillor Rae Evans said: “This new scheme will open as a matter of urgency on Monday 25 May as there are many borough businesses desperate for help.

“However, we are deeply disappointed because the conditions set by Government and the limited value of the funding provided by Government, offers too little help to too few businesses. It feels like we’re being set up to fail.

“The Government’s criteria essentially leaves many manufacturers high and dry, while we expect applications to quickly outstrip the fund’s value, meaning that many businesses in real need will not get the help that they so badly require.

The Cabinet Member for Cabinet Member for Economy, Housing, Transport and Infrastructure, Councillor David Wright said: “We have no scope to support many companies who have come to us because they fall outside the parameters set by Government.

“When the Government announced its £617 million allocation for this on 2 May, we expected to receive a share of this, but initial indications are that only a handful of councils nationally will receive funding from this pot.

“Many businesses will be deeply disappointed either because they aren’t in one of the Government’s priority categories or, because of the fund’s value, we simply can’t provide the level of support they need to keep going.

“I will be urging our MPs to lobby for borough businesses who continue to fall through the cracks because the Government has made it nigh on impossible for us to support them.”

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