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‘It’s not nearly enough funding’ warns Crawley Council as business grant applications open

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Eligible businesses can now apply for the latest round of business grants but Crawley Borough Council says the funding is not nearly enough.

Despite Crawley being responsible for 25 per cent of the economic output in West Sussex, it has been given some of the lowest grant funding in the county.

The government has given the council £3,733,396 made up of:

  • £1,485,216 in Local Restrictions Support Grant to distribute to businesses that pay business rates and have had to close during the second lockdown
  • £2,248,180 in Additional Restrictions Grant, which is given to businesses that don’t pay business rates and have been affected by the lockdown but not legally required to close.

Out of seven local authorities in West Sussex, only one received less than Crawley’s combined grants figure. Five councils received more.

The Additional Restrictions Grant is based on £20 per person in Crawley rather than the number of businesses in the town. This means that Arun District Council, for example, has received £3,215,160 due to a larger population but smaller economy.

And only one council in West Sussex received less than Crawley across both rounds of grant funding in April and November. Crawley received a total of £17,167,646. The highest – Chichester District Council – received £43,739,396.

In the first round of grants earlier this year only 23 per cent of Crawley businesses received financial help from the government.

Councillor Peter Lamb, Leader of the Council, said:

“The pot of grant funding provided by the government is very limited and does not recognise the number of businesses we have in Crawley.

“The way the grant settlement is calculated – on population and not on the size of the economy – means we have to turn most businesses away, while other councils have millions to spare. This is causing major hardship at a time when Crawley is already the hardest-hit economy in the UK.”

Businesses that have had to close during the second lockdown can apply for a Local Restrictions Support Grant by visiting https://grantapproval.co.uk

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Crawley businesses take out over £90m in loans to survive COVID-19

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Statistics released by the Government have revealed the true extent of lending taken up by businesses across Crawley.

According to a release from the office of Crawley’s MP Henry SMith, businesses across Crawley have benefitted from £92,721,494 worth of loans since the start of the COVID-19 outbreak.

This includes 1,724 Bounce Back Loans worth £51,495,006 and 102 loans at a value of £41,226,488 through the Coronavirus Business Interruption Scheme.

The number is part of the vast number that have been taken out throughout the whole of the south east of England, where a total of 175,946 Bounce Back Loans, worth £5,269,988,799, and 9,026 Coronavirus Business Interruption Loans, worth £2,154,703,689, have been provided to support businesses across all sectors, protecting jobs and livelihoods.

Crawley MP Henry Smith said;

“This year has been hugely challenging for businesses in Crawley, but these latest figures demonstrate the scale of support that the Government has put in place to protect livelihoods and businesses.

“Never has the Government’s agenda to level up the whole county been so important. I’ll continue to focus on supporting hardworking families across Crawley.”

With cases still rising and worries that more areas across the country may enter tighter restricttions, the Chancellor has also announced that the Government’s Job Support Scheme will be expanded to protect jobs and support businesses required to close their doors as a result of coronavirus restrictions, alongside increasing the cash grants to businesses in England required to shut in local lockdowns to support with fixed costs – worth up to £3,000 per month.

So far, the Government has provided over £200 billion throughout its economic response to coronavirus to support jobs and businesses in the UK.

The Chancellor of the Exchequer, Rishi Sunak, commented;

“Our support for businesses and workers has provided a lifeline to employers up and down the country, supporting people to stay in jobs and protecting livelihoods. “We will build on this as we move to the next stage of our recovery through the Winter Economy Plan, which will continue to protect jobs and help businesses through the months ahead.”

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