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£16.5m paid out to 1,326 businesses in coronavirus crisis payments

Posted onPosted on 15th Apr

Newark and Sherwood District Council said it is leading the way in providing much-needed cash support to businesses to help see them through the coronavirus crisis with £16.5m paid out to 1,326 qualifying for assistance.

The council has pledged to ensure that most firms entitled to the funds will receive them by the end of next week (Friday, April 24).

It said it recognises that it is absolutely critical that businesses have the funds to stay afloat and has used a swift but secure process to ensure funds land in the right place.

On one single day, since the pandemic unfolded, more than £8m was paid out with firms receiving £10,000 or £25,000 depending on their circumstances.

The council’s finance and revenues and benefits teams are now working through the remaining 40 per cent of businesses that have yet to receive their money – whereas some local authorities in the UK have yet to pay out a penny.

Due to the issues that were presented by the pandemic, rather than waiting for central government funds to arrive to pay for the scheme, the council initially used its own resources, re-prioritising its cash flow to make the payments.

Council officers worked on an initial database of information to pay some businesses immediately while an online form was created for the majority of recipients to fill in their details before council officers could process them, validating the applications and then using the Faster Payments system which ensures the speedy transfer of cash.

Businesses have aired their gratitude and relief at how quickly they received the money. Denise Starkey, who runs Gracegentle, which sells home accessories and giftware in Middlegate, Newark, said that the funds had enabled her to keep staff on, pay suppliers and to put things in place for when they re-open again. She received the funds within two days of filling in the online firm.

She said: “This was an absolutely tremendous effort and NSDC is definitely ahead of the game against other councils when I talk to my business friends outside of the Newark and Sherwood district.”

Nigel Catt, from letsXcape immersive experiences, which is based at Kelham Hall and Country Park, near Newark, said: “I would thank the district council, for the speed at which it has handled the issuing of business grants to all those affected in the district.”

Helen Netherwood, of Home Bake, Southwell, said: “My heartfelt thanks to the department responsible for getting the Covid-19 grants out to all the eligible small businesses. I have received mine and it is a massive relief. From talking to friends around the country, I know many councils have not even started the process yet so the speed that NSDC has done this is truly amazing.”

Coun David Lloyd, leader of Newark and Sherwood District Council, said: “This has demonstrated local government helping the business community at its very best. Some businesses were in dire need of funds and we couldn’t afford to allow our processes to be so mired in bureaucracy that they would have to wait for the money.

“While some local authorities were still paying out for the software to make the payments we quickly developed a swift and efficient process to ensure that businesses got the cash they needed and were not left waiting in desperation.

“Our staff colleagues have been brilliant and we hope that all businesses will have received the funds that they are entitled to by the end of next week.”

There are three types of support for businesses which were announced at the onset of the Coronavirus pandemic. Firstly, a £10,000 grant per business property in receipt of Small Business Rates Relief and Rural Rates Relief or secondly, a £10,000 grant per business property in the Retail, Hospitality, and Leisure Sector with rateable value of £15k or less at March 11, 2020 (If businesses fall within both categories 1 and 2 above, the maximum grant eligible will be £10,000). Thirdly, a £25,000 grant per business property is payable to businesses in the Retail, Hospitality, and Leisure Sector with a rateable value of more than £15k but less than £51k as of March 11, 2020. Funds are initially paid out by the District Council which will be reimbursed by central government.

For those businesses that have not yet submitted their bank details, use the online form at