Wednesday 24 July 2024
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Notts councils distributed more than £330 million in Covid grants

Councils in Nottingham and Nottinghamshire have distributed more than a quarter of a billion pounds in grants to struggling businesses and traders since the start of the pandemic, official figures show.

The funding came as part of numerous Government grants and support schemes launched during the pandemic to keep businesses afloat during lockdowns and local restrictions.

Tens of thousands of payments were made by councils during the two years to March 2022, with councils saying the support has allowed local traders to keep their heads above water at a time when they were “hit hardest”.

Figures from six out of eight distributing authorities in Nottingham and Nottinghamshire show councils distributed at least £285 million over the past two years.

The data includes sums for Bassetlaw, Broxtowe, Gedling, Mansfield, Nottingham and Rushcliffe councils.

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Nottingham City Council says it is “difficult to put a precise figure” on the exact sum, but confirmed it has distributed more than £100 million in grants to more than 3,000 businesses since March 2020.

Bassetlaw District Council had the highest of all the responding district and borough authorities, confirming £47,458,338 was paid out in 11,979 individual payments across 12 grant schemes.

Rushcliffe Borough Council adds it has paid out more than £36 million in Covid grants and reduced £19.2 million in business rates bills, with more than 800 businesses across the borough supported by Covid aid.

Councillor Gordon Moore (Con), the authority’s cabinet member for finance and customer access, praised his council’s officers for working “tirelessly” to help struggling traders.

He said: “We recognised so many business owners were facing such stark pressures and needed support quickly either due to closure or being affected for long periods.

“Many praised the speed at which our support was made available, in addition to our business support programmes.”

Further figures for Mansfield confirm almost £36 million was distributed to businesses across the district, with the district council stating 8,839 payments have been made over the past two years.

Broxtowe Borough Council’s figure was marginally-less at £34.9 million, however, the council has made 10,461 payments since the start of the pandemic.

Gedling Borough Council says it has paid out £31.4 million in grants to more than 2,250 businesses across the borough.

But Cllr John Clarke (Lab), leader of the authority, says distributing the grants has “not always been straightforward”.

He said:  “Our officers have worked relentlessly to ensure as many eligible businesses as possible have been able to apply for, and receive, much-needed grant funding at a time when their businesses were hit hardest.

“Facilitating these grants has not always been straightforward, with a range of criteria and eligibility requirements, tight deadlines to raise awareness of each grant and the huge administrative undertaking processing applications.”

Neither Ashfield nor Newark and Sherwood District Councils responded to requests for figures.

However, Government data shows both authorities will have distributed at least £25 million each, meaning councils across Nottinghamshire will have issued more than £335 million in grants since the pandemic began.

The funding was provided to local authorities from Whitehall to distribute to traders, with eligible businesses, traders and the self-employed required to apply to their council for individual payments.

As of March 19, 2022, all Government business grant schemes had closed, with no Covid restrictions in place across England.

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