Firms missing out on coronavirus grants

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Last Updated: 12 Aug 2020 9:54am

Scores of small businesses in Tonbridge and Malling risk missing out on grants of up to £25,000 when the government-backed scheme closes later this month.

More than 1,400 firms have successfully applied for the funding designed to support businesses during the coronavirus lockdown. However, around 180 small companies, which council records indicate could be eligible, have not yet applied with the final deadline of 28 August just two weeks away.

Tonbridge & Malling Borough Council was allocated £20.12m by the government to distribute to eligible businesses, 90 per cent of which has now been given out. A further 150 businesses benefited from £1m of discretionary grants for those not eligible for the main scheme. This scheme is now closed.

In recent weeks with the deadline looming, council business and finance teams have been using phone, email and address records to contact the companies which have yet to apply but had no response. Eligible businesses are those covered by small business rates or rural rates relief and those in the retail, hospitality and leisure sectors which have a rateable value of less than £51,000.

Any business owner in these categories who has yet to claim a grant is being urged to act immediately or risk missing out on accessing cash which has proved a lifeline for many in danger of permanent closure.

Jeremy Whittaker, Tonbridge and Malling’s Economic Regeneration Manager, said: “We have tried every way possible to reach out to these firms but unfortunately a number are not picking up business-related messages. Small businesses are the lifeblood of our local economy and it would be a tragedy if any of them missed out on getting a grant that is sitting there waiting to be claimed. I’d urge anyone who may be eligible and has not yet done so to get in touch with us as soon as possible.”

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