THE deputy leader of Shropshire Council has appealed for patience from grant applicants after it was revealed that £17.5m had been paid to 2,412 businesses affected by Covid-19 since last week.

Councillor Steve Charmley, who represents Whittington, says staff are working around the clock to ensure that grants covering the lockdown period between January 5 and February 12, are paid.

He pointed to the huge demand for grants during the third lockdown, and said applications have to be assessed inline with government guidelines.

“We are doing everything we can to support local businesses, and working very long hours to get these grants out to local firms," said Cllr Charmley – who is also Cabinet member for assets, economic growth and regeneration.

"We know that this money is a lifeline to many.

“Understandably the demand for these has been huge, so please bear with us as we go through previous applications and assess new ones in line with government criteria.

“We will of course continue to work hard to pay these as quickly as possible, and do all we can to help and support local people who have been affected by the coronavirus pandemic.”

This time, many of the eligible businesses received payments without having to apply again.

This is because any business which had already applied and was assessed as eligible for a Local Restrictions Support Grant (LRSG) in November 2020 has now been paid for this new period.

This grant payment includes a one-off top up grant for affected businesses in the retail, hospitality and leisure sectors that have had to close. This is called the Closed Business Lockdown Payment.

Those businesses which have not applied since November 2020 are being urged to submit their details as soon as possible.

In just under two weeks, the council has paid:

LRSG Closed Addendum – January lockdown £5,829,003

Closed Business Lockdown Payment – January lockdown £11,654,000

For businesses who are mandated to close but do not pay business rates, or for businesses who do not fall within the eligible sectors outlined for support from LRSG but have been severely impacted by this latest lockdown, a further Discretionary Additional Restrictions Grant (DARG) is now available.

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