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Update on Covid Business Grants
The Head of Regeneration and Economic Development introduced the report which included a list of the initiatives undertaken by Central Government in response to the Covid-19 pandemic. In the implementation of those initiatives, the Council had commissioned Kent and Medway Growth Hub to provide advice and guidance to businesses in accessing the initiatives. This was done in conjunction with other Local Authorities and Kent County Council.
The Head of Regeneration and Economic Development explained the basis of the Business Rates Relief Scheme, the Small Business Grant Fund and Retail Hospitality and Leisure Fund and the Discretionary Grant Scheme. The conditions for both grant schemes included that a business had to have been trading on 11 March 2020, had been solvent and had made the relevant state aid declarations.
In relation to the Small Business Grant Fund and Retail, Hospitality and Leisure Fund, it was confirmed that over 2100 grants had been paid to local businesses, which totalled 98% of the original and additional funding allocated to the Council by Central Government. The Council was originally allocated £27.5 million in funding with a further sum of over £800,000 provided due to the level of approved applications received.
In relation to the Discretionary Grant Scheme, over 300 applications had been received with 247 grants having been provided by the Council. A total of £1.4 million in funding was provided, with 82% having been paid out to applicants.
It was noted that any businesses which applied to one of the schemes, that would have better suited the criteria of a different scheme, were directed as such. Of the applications received, there had been 14 appeals which were being overseen by the Director of Finance and Business Improvement.
A request was made that a written update be provided to the Committee at an appropriate opportunity, with regard to the economic recovery of the Borough.
RESOLVED: That the content of the report be noted, and the Committee express their thanks to the officers involved in the provision of business grants.