£2m in Covid business support rushed through by Peterborough council to secure additional funds
Nearly £2 million to support Peterborough businesses impacted by the Covid pandemic is to be handed out in the next few weeks to prevent the city from missing out on additional funds.
The city council has received £5.8 million from the Government’s Additional Restrictions Grant (ARG) to award to local firms.
So far, £4 million has been awarded to businesses which qualify for support, with the remaining £1.8 million needing be handed out by March 31,2022, otherwise the money will go back to the Government.
However, if the council has spent all of the money by the end of June it will be able to claim an additional £1.4 million.
The authority has now instructed its officers to widen the criteria for businesses to be eligible for financial support and suspended the need to give 28 days of prior warning ahead of the decision being implemented.
It has also removed the right of councillors to call-in the decision which would see it put on hold until the issue had been debated by a scrutiny committee.
This will allow it to spend the remaining £1.8 million before the end of the month, thus making sure it can then claim the extra £1.4 million available by the Government.
Local councils can determine their own eligibility criteria to use with the ARG and which businesses to support.
Peterborough is seeking to extend the list of those available for financial aid in order to “maximise the likelihood of the full £5.8 million being awarded by the end of June 2021”.
So far, 486 city businesses and 991 taxi drivers have been supported through the ARG scheme, with all applications having now been processed.
Among the firms which will be eligible for ARG support are businesses which can show a reduction in income of at least 30 per cent as a result of the pandemic, as well as those in the supply chain for the retail, hospitality and leisure industry.