Thousands of pounds of business grants incorrectly paid in Cheltenham
By Laura Enfield | 3rd May 2023
Council bosses in Cheltenham are still working to claim back more than £36,000 of incorrectly paid business grants.
But they said the amount falls well below the national average and they are proud of the "fantastic job" council officers did at distributing the money so quickly.
The payments were made during the Covid-19 pandemic when businesses across the UK were struggling due to restrictions.
Between March 2020 and March 2022 Cheltenham Borough Council paid out £50.2million worth of business grants to more than 11,000 businesses.
Its counter fraud and enforcement unit (CFEU) has since discovered £106,098 was handed out incorrectly via 13 grants.
Nationally it was reported that 8% of the grants paid were paid out incorrectly.
The CFEU has been working to recover the money, with invoices raised asking business owners to pay back their grants.
The council said in most cases the money was repaid immediately and so far £69,764 has been recovered.
It leaves £36,334 outstanding and the council is working with the government regarding action to recover the money still owed.
No businesses have been prosecuted for fraud.
Paul Jones, Cheltenham's executive director of finance assets and regeneration, said: "Nationally it was reported that 8% of the grants paid were paid out incorrectly and were unlikely to be recovered. The £36,334 in Cheltenham outstanding equates to 0.07%.
"I'm extremely proud of the fantastic job done by our team to deliver these grants at speed."
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