Business News

Council: £11million ‘held back by government red tape’

July 10, 2020

Brighton & Hove City Council (BHCC) has joined local business leaders to call on the government to cut red tape around funding rules and allow local businesses to benefit from around £11million of financial support, which has already been given by the government to allocate to local businesses.

BHCC has already given out around £3.7million in discretionary grants to more than 300 local small businesses, but demand for these outstripped the money available. Over 900 small businesses applied, leaving more than 600 seeking grants amounting to £7million.

Back in April the government gave BHCC £83million to distribute to local businesses. The council was then asked to distribute £73million of it in small business grants based on a strict funding formula.

Due to business closures and other factors around eligibility BHCC was only able to allocate around £68million.

Cllr Nancy Platts, BHCC leader, said: ‘We’re calling on the government to do the right thing. Jobs and livelihoods must always come first, not rules and regulations.

‘We’ve followed the rules closely, and as a result we have only been able to allocate around £72m. We’re desperate to give out the other £11m, but it’s the government’s own red tape that’s stopping us.

‘Businesses across the city are in desperate need of support right now. The discretionary grants we’ve already paid out will provide a lifeline for the 300 or so that have qualified for them.

‘But hundreds more businesses could benefit if we were able to use the other £11m to support them.’

Among the 20 business organisations supporting the call for the government to take action are: the Brighton & Hove Economic Partnership; the Federation of Small Businesses; Wired Sussex; the Brighton Restaurant Association.