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Gloucestershire Business News

Councils agree £2.8m in small business grants

Two district councils in Gloucestershire have agreed £2.8million of payments to small businesses under the Government's Discretionary Business Grants Scheme.

Forest of Dean and Cotswold District Councils have made the payments to 357 small businesses since they opened the scheme at the start of June.

The £1.7million Cotswold payout means 233 businesses have received an average of £6,995 with a further 13 allocated funds which will be paid when the council receives further information.

The average grant agreed in the Forest of Dean is £7,155 with 124 businesses - and a further 36 allocated - sharing £1.1million.

Applications for grants from Gloucester City Council, Cheltenham Borough Council, Stroud District Council and Tewkesbury Borough Council closed on Sunday.

Councillor Mike Evemy, deputy leader and cabinet member for finance at Cotswold District Council, said: "I am proud our team has done such a remarkable job in receiving, reviewing and processing payments to the successful applicants in just three weeks. I just wish more support was available.

"We have kept very close to the Government's guidelines in determining which businesses will receive a grant.

"I am particularly concerned there is a missing middle of businesses in the Cotswolds that are not large enough to make use of other government schemes but do not meet the criteria for this scheme either.:

He continued: "I have written to the Business Secretary, asking that councils should be allowed to use some of the money that remains unallocated from the government funding we received for business grants to support this group."

Grants for the scheme, intended for the smallest of businesses which did not qualify for other government support, could be up to £25,000 - although neither council made a payment above £10,000.

The lowest grants were for £1,000 with the final mount calculated as a percentage of lost income from the start of lockdown in March to the end of May.

Councillor Bernie O'Neill, Forest of Dean District Council cabinet member for finance, business support and jobs, said: "The team has done a great job in being able to open a scheme and review applications in such a short space of time.

"We are committed to supporting business and helping the Forest to bounce back stronger from Covid and lockdown.

"It's disappointing that we were not able to provide further grants but we are operating with a fixed amount from central government.

"We have kept very closely to the Government's guidelines in determining which businesses will receive a grant."

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