£11m for city’s businesses ‘held back by government red tape’

Brighton & Hove City Council has joined local business leaders to call on the government to cut red tape around funding rules and allow local businesses to benefit from around £11m of desperately needed financial support.

The £11m is money the council has already been given by the government to allocate to local businesses.

The council has already given out around £3.7m in discretionary grants to more than 300 local small businesses

But demand for these vastly outstripped the money available. Over 900 small businesses applied, leaving more than 600 seeking grants amounting to £7m.

Back in April the government gave the council £83m to distribute to local businesses. They then asked us to distribute £73m of it in small business grants based on a strict funding formula.

Due to business closures and other factors around eligibility the council was only able to allocate around £68m. 

Government red tape is now stopping the council from allocating the remaining £11m through more discretionary grants.

Council leader Nancy Platts said: “We’re calling on the government to do the right thing. Jobs and livelihoods must always come first, not rules and regulations.

“We’ve followed the rules closely, and as a result we have only been able to allocate around £72m. 

We’re desperate to give out the other £11m, but it’s the government’s own red tape that’s stopping us.

“Businesses across the city are in desperate need of support right now. The discretionary grants we’ve already paid out will provide a lifeline for the 300 or so that have qualified for them.

“But hundreds more businesses could benefit if we were able to use the other £11m to support them.”

Among the 20 business organisations supporting the call for the government to take urgent action are: the Brighton & Hove Economic Partnership; the Federation of Small Businesses; Wired Sussex and the Brighton Restaurant Association.