Businesses across Bath and the surrounding area are being reassured that they will be paid government support grants as quickly as possible during the current lockdown.
Bath & North East Somerset Council says it is experiencing high demand for the grant support available to businesses and it is committing more resources to ensure that they will be processed, and payments made more quickly, to meet the needs of local companies.
With the latest lockdown, the local authority is dealing with a changing set of circumstances and “complex grant procedures” following several changes in both the local and national restrictions and the impact on the business grants scheme.
This is primarily due to the changes in lockdown arrangements since the beginning of November, where the local area went from a national lockdown, to Tier 2 restrictions, then to Tier 3 restrictions during the Christmas and New Year period and back into another national lockdown earlier this month.
The changes affect the type and nature of grants which local businesses are entitled to and will make the processing and payment of the grants more complex than the situation following the first national lockdown.
The council is introducing other measures to improve its assessment and processing and has taken a number of immediate steps including:
- Daily payments runs.
- Building in some further resilience to the final sign off and payment process.
- Daily updates on number claims processed, received and outstanding will again be published.
- Additional resources have now been identified and deployed to ensure the current backlog is reduced, especially the Additional Restrictions Grant.
Councillor Richard Samuel, Deputy Leader and cabinet member for Resources, said: “We are acutely aware of the importance of these grants reaching businesses as soon as possible, which is why we are committing as much resource as we can to the new scheme.
“The rapidly changing Covid restrictions have affected the government grants that local businesses are entitled to each time there has been a change, which has made processing them accurately a complex task.
“I’d like to reassure businesses that we are working as hard as we can to manage the new scheme effectively and get it up and running in the shortest possible time.”
For eligible businesses that may need to apply, visit: https://beta.bathnes.gov.uk/coronavirus-covid-19-latest-information-and-advice/help-businesses.