Croydon council are calling on the government to provide local authorities with additional funding so they can better support businesses through the Covid-19 pandemic.
In a joint letter, council leader Cllr Tony Newman and Cllr Manju Shahul-Hameed, cabinet member for economy and jobs, warned government there are businesses in desperate need of support falling through the gaps because they do not meet the eligibility criteria for government funding.
The letter, addressed to Chancellor Rishi Sunak MP and Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy Alok Sharma MP, states that more than 10,000 Croydon businesses failed to qualify for the Small Business Grants Fund and the Retail, Hospitality and Leisure Grant Fund, forcing them to either rely on schemes such as the Coronavirus Business Interruption Loan and Bounce Back Loans, or try to survive with no support from government funding at all.
Despite the recent announcement of the Local Authority Discretionary Grant Fund, the additional payment – five percent of the council’s funding allocation – will fail to address the level of need in Croydon by a considerable margin, meaning some members of Croydon’s business community will continue to miss out on the essential lifeline of financial support.
As a result, the councillors have urged government to take immediate, much needed action by: providing extra funding to support businesses falling through the gaps despite the Local Authority Discretionary Grants Fund; enabling the council to use any residual business grant funding to support businesses; and to broaden the categories of business eligible for grant through the Retail Hospitality and Leisure Grant Fund to include companies in the supply chain to hospitality and leisure industries. This would include the likes of laundry services for hotels who have either lost all work or seen a dramatic impact on their cash flow as a result businesses in these industries closing.
Cllr Newman says: “While we appreciate the government’s interventions to help keep businesses afloat, it simply is not enough. “Too many hard working Croydon businesses are falling through the gaps – through no fault of their own – and I urge government to give us and other councils the resource they need to help these businesses survive.”
Cllr Manju Shahul-Hameed added: “Croydon’s business community has been devastated by the impact of coronavirus and those local businesses who so far have received nothing, urgently need support to ensure their survival. “These businesses will play a vital role in Croydon’s economic recovery and the creation of an inclusive, sustainable economy and government must do more to help them.” (Source: Croydon council press release)