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Braintree District Council has administered £21.1 million in business grants placing it in the top 15% of Local Authorities

Braintree District Council has administered £21.1 million in business grants placing it in the top 15% of Local Authorities

"We’ve worked extremely hard to get this money out as quickly as possible because we know how vital this support is right now."

Braintree District Council has administered £21.1 million in grants to support 1,819 businesses facing financial difficulties as a result of the Coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic - placing it in the top 15% of Local Authorities in the country.

The authority ranked 46th out of 314 other Local Authorities in England (from data published on April 20th) in the payment of grants to eligible businesses.

The Council was tasked with distributing £31.57 million in emergency grants (from central government) to support small businesses and businesses within the retail, hospitality and leisure sectors impacted by the recent forced coronavirus (COVID-19) lockdown.

The authority is offering grants of up to £25,000 to eligible businesses in the retail, hospitality and leisure sectors and a grant of £10,000 to small businesses in receipt of small business rate relief or rural rate relief. 

Business grants have been issued to just over 70% (1,819 out of 2,557) of eligible businesses so far - with approximately another 200 applications in the pipeline to be processed and paid this week.

Julia Long at The Angel Shop in Braintree said: “Thanks to our government and the tireless efforts of the staff at the Council, we received our grants for the shop just before the Easter weekend. We can happily say, and are very relieved to say that our doors will re-open. We miss our little shop and look forward to welcoming our customers back.”

Braintree District Council sent 2,557 application forms to eligible businesses on Friday, 27th March and plans to make direct contact for a second time with the companies who have not yet returned their forms.

A Braintree District Council spokesman said: “Although we only have a small number of application forms left to process, there is still work to be done in making sure that all the businesses identified as eligible are contacted again so that they can be offered the support that they are entitled to.”

Cllr Tom Cunningham, Cabinet Member for Economic Development and Infrastructure at Braintree District Council said: “I’m very pleased that we’ve managed to help a huge proportion of our district’s businesses so far.  We’ve worked extremely hard to get this money out as quickly as possible because we know how vital this support is right now.  Our aim going forward is to chase those businesses who have yet to apply so that they can also secure the help that is on offer.”