Revealed – 6 worst councils for handing out coronavirus business grants

Business department names and shames six worst performing local authorities when it comes to handing out coronavirus small business grants

The government has released figures for the worst- and best-performing local authorities in England when it comes to handing out coronavirus business grants.

Birmingham, Luton, Sandwell in the West Midlands, Slough, South Oxfordshire and Tunbridge Wells are the worst performing local authorities, according to the Federation of Small Businesses (FSB).

Each of the six local authorities have only managed to pay out 11 per cent of their emergency coronavirus business grants allocation, totalling £408m between them.

>See also: How to get the government’s £10,000 cash grant for small businesses

Mike Cherry, national chairman of the FSB, said that some local authorities have only managed to get out between 10 per cent and 20 per cent of their total £12.3bn business support package. Any delay was “inexcusable”, he said.

The top three best-performing local authorities for getting the small business grants out are Winchester City Council, which has completely deployed its £29.2m funding allocation, Redcar and Cleveland Borough Council (98 per cent) and the London borough of Southwark (93 per cent).

Cherry added: “For many small businesses, access to these grants will decide the fate of their futures, and it’s excellent to see so many local authorities across England getting the money into the hands of those who need it most … it’s those areas that must act now if they want to see small businesses survive.”

As of April 20, £6.11bn has been paid out to 491,725 business properties in England, half of the funding allocated, according to business ministry BEIS.

Top 10 worst performing local authorities for small business grants*

Local authorityInitial allocation (£)No. of businesses eligible for grantNo. of grant payments made to local businesses as of April 19 2020Value of payments (£)% of businesses paid
Birmingham City Council2315760001914620413673000011
Luton Borough Council311140002465267325500011
Sandwell Metropolitan Borough Council730360005887626795500011
Slough Borough Council179880001254135223500011
South Oxfordshire District Council274940002320253419500011
Tunbridge Wells Borough Council270340002036215438500011
Haringey London Borough5631200059477191212500012
Nottingham City Council634360005170619799000012
Vale of White Horse District Council178100001642201241500012
Wokingham Borough Council205320001948252408000013
*As of April 19 2020
Sources: Department for Business, Energy & Industrial Strategy, Federation of Small Businesses


How the Small Business Grants Fund works

  • The Small Business Grants Fund is a £10,000 grant per eligible business, originally announced at Budget
  • Businesses included in this scheme are those that, as of March 11, were eligible for relief under the Small Business Rate Relief Scheme (including those with a rateable value between £12,000 and £15,000 which receive tapered relief) or the Rural Rate Relief Scheme
  • The Retail, Hospitality and Leisure Business Grants Fund was announced by the Chancellor on March 17. Businesses in scope were those that were eligible on March 11 for a discount under the Expanded Retail Discount scheme and with a rateable value of less than £51,000:
    – Eligible businesses in these sectors with a property that has a rateable value of up to and including £15,000 will receive a grant of £10,000
    – Eligible businesses with a property that has a rateable value of over £15,000 and less than £51,000 will receive a grant of £25,000

Because grants are allocated per business property, a single business can receive multiple grants and may receive grants from separate local authorities.

Further reading

150 UK small business grants to apply for right now

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Tim Adler

Tim Adler is group editor of Small Business, Growth Business and Information Age. He is a former commissioning editor at the Daily Telegraph, who has written for the Financial Times, The Times and the...

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