MP hits out at council for time taken to issue Covid recovery grants

MP hits out at council for time taken to issue Covid recovery grants

by Danielle Thompson (May 2021)

SEFTON Council has been accused by Southport MP Damien Moore of taking too long to give out grants aimed at helping businesses to get back on their feet after the coronavirus pandemic.

Mr Moore submitted a Freedom of Information Request after a constituent contacted him when his Restart Grant had not come through, despite making an application a number of weeks ago.

Mr Moore said: “Sefton Borough Council appear to have been unhurried in opening up this grant to businesses, taking almost two weeks longer than neighbouring councils such as South Ribble.

“Out of the 1,775 grants applied for, only 136 grants were approved and paid by May 17.

“That meant many businesses in my constituency were not been able to re-open on time as they have been unable to purchase essential stock.

“How are businesses in Southport – particularly in the hospitality and tourism sector – expected to reopen their doors when the they have not received this critical funding?

“Sefton Borough Council may have approved a further 554 restart grants this week, but it’s come to late for many businesses in my constituency who have already had to endure a torrid 12 months of trading.”

A spokesperson for Sefton Council said: “Our teams are working on processing applications for the Restart Grant and have so far approved over 600 applications amounting to over £5,000,000.

“Due to a requirement by the Government to obtain more detailed information from applicants, and to conduct a greater level of pre-verification checks, the Council anticipate that it will take 4-6 weeks for the business to receive payment from the date they applied for the grant.

“Additional staff are working through the remaining grant applications and it is expected that payment will be issued to those businesses by the end of May.”

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