Retail businesses are missing out on millions of pounds of unallocated local authority grants, according to Bira, the British Independent Retailers Association.
It has been revealed that emergency coronavirus funding for firms will go back to the Treasury at the end of the month if it is not claimed. It is believed £1.5 billion of the £12bn still remains in local authority bank accounts.
According to official data, 80,000 small businesses are eligible for the unclaimed cash. The Government says it is working with local councils to make sure funding reaches all those entitled to it. However, Bira is urging the Government to allow more time to find eligible businesses – rather than returning the money to the Treasury.
Andrew Goodacre, Bira’s CEO, says: ‘I am concerned by the amount of money given to local authorities to give grants to retail and hospitality businesses.
‘We have been made aware that some local authorities are holding on to millions of pounds of unallocated grant money. This money has been unclaimed, probably because the business rating list used by local authorities is not accurate and some businesses will no longer exist. However, having allocated the money to support businesses, it makes sense to allow local authorities to further support independent retailers who continue to experience severe problems with their business in the current crisis. The money has been allocated once and should be used rather than returned back to the Treasury.’