'Come and claim the free money' Doncaster business owners urged

Hundreds of small businesses have still not applied for special grants to cover rent and rates through the Covid-19 crisis and owners in Doncaster are being urged to claim the free money.

Wednesday, 29th April 2020, 10:08 am
Updated Wednesday, 29th April 2020, 10:55 am

New figures show Doncaster Council has successfully given grants to 3,436 businesses, but 5,323 are eligible for the money.

The councilwas allocated more than £64 million, but only £38m has been passed on.

This equates to just more than 59 per cent as of Sunday, April 26.

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Damian Allen, Director of People for Doncaster Council

Civic Office bosses previously urged business owners to be patient as they sift through the huge number of applications for grant payments and rent relief.

The council paid out money for the £10,000 Small Business Grant, which is available to businesses with a rateable value of up to £15,000 and in receipt of Small Business Rates Relief.

There is also a £10,000 or £25,000 Retail, Hospitality and Leisure Grant, available to firms in those sectors with a rateable value up to £51,000.

Damian Allen, council chief executive, said: “We’re still dealing with lots of businesses who have applied for the money or ones where we are prompting them to apply.

“One of the things we have done is put pressure on the government department responsible for unallocated sums of money and an increased flexibility to apply them to some of the gaps and eligibility that have arisen.

“That to me would seem very logical given the fact this is a heavily centralised system but the reality is that’s for the government to determine.

“Businesses that want to apply and even if we’ve informed them and when there’s a residual amount left in the application, this money will have to go back to central government unless we can make a case to say it has to meet another need.”

Ian Sloan, of chartered surveyors Bankier Sloan, said: “This money is free and doesn't need to be returned . It's a ‘gift" not a loan. It's intended to insure the long-term survival of local retailers.”