Ilkley MP frustrated at the speed in which Bradford Council are issuing Coronavirus business support grants.
As at 20 April, only 32% of funds given to Bradford Council by government was released, compared to Leeds 61% and Craven 63%.
Keighley and Ilkley MP Robbie Moore has expressed his severe disappointment at the speed in which Bradford Council is issuing the government’s coronavirus support grants to small and medium size businesses.
In the wake of the coronavirus pandemic, one of the early financial support packages which the government announced was a distribution of £10,000 and £25,000 grants to help small businesses get through this tough period.
The Government has issued over £135m to Bradford Council to support 11,662 businesses across the District. However, figures released by the Government have shown that Bradford Council has only issued 32 per cent of the funds so far to businesses who are in desperate need of financial assistance, despite receiving the funds from central government at start of April. In comparison, neighbouring Leeds City Council has issued 61 per cent of grants and Craven District Council, which covers Skipton has issued 63 per cent of grants.
Mr Moore said: “I am deeply frustrated by these figures. I have been in regular contact with the senior leadership team at Bradford Council who have assured me that they are making good progress with issuing the grants, but when this is compared to other neighbouring authorities of similar size, like Leeds, and much smaller like Craven and Calderdale, it simply isn’t the case.
Over £135 million of business grant money was given to Bradford Council by central government at the start of the month and it is shocking that Bradford are well behind other neighbouring local authorities in delivering this money to businesses in desperate need. Alarm bells starting ringing last week when an unprecedented number of business owners from across Keighley and Ilkley contacted me stating that they haven’t received an update, let alone payment from Bradford Council since they submitted their grant application over a month ago. It then became clear to businesses that many of their colleagues and counterparts in neighbouring council areas have already received their Government grant.
The Government has been working around the clock to make sure that businesses are as best protected financial from this ongoing coronavirus pandemic. Bradford must now get this money to the small and medium size businesses that need it. I know that many individuals at the Council who are working exceptional hard, but questions need to be asked of the Leadership Team. I am calling right now on Bradford Council to commit to make paying these grants to local businesses as an absolute number one priority.”
People can see how all Local Authorities across England have been performing as at the 20th April 2020 in distributing the small business support grants to businesses within their respective areas by visiting the following government website; link https://assets.publishing.service.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uplo…
The Government has released an unprecedented series of financial packages to help support businesses through this tough time, including the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme which pays 80 per cent of the salary of an employee whose company cannot operate during the crisis. This is one of the most generous job retention schemes in the world.
Bradford Council today have said:
'We understand how distressing the current situation is for local businesses and are doing everything we can to support you.
There is a huge demand for the Small Business Grant Fund (SBGF) or Retail, Hospitality and Leisure Grant Fund (RHLGF) and our small business rates team is working seven days a week including through public holidays to get the payments out to eligible businesses as quickly as possible.
To find out more about these grants and to see if you are eligible please visit www.bradford.gov.uk/businessgrants
Please provide us with your details, using our online form on this webpage, if you think you are eligible and have not already applied. Additional help available is also detailed on these pages.
If you have already provided us with your details for a grant and have not yet received it, please don’t call or email to check on its progress as this slows down the processing and payment of grants.
You can find which grants would be suitable for your business by using the government’s handy support finder tool.'