High street local authorities

New government data has revealed that out of the £12.3 billion allocated to local authorities to distribute as COVID-19 relief grants, there is still £3.2 billion left to be given out to over 214,000 businesses in England as of the 10th May 2020.

For many mobility retailers, alongside retailers across numerous sectors, the coronavirus grants have proven to be a critical lifeline during lockdown as companies saw sales significantly decline or completely stop.

According to the latest government figures however, there are still hundreds of thousands of companies that have not received the grants that they may be eligible for.

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74 per cent (£9.1 billion) has been given as cash grants under either the Small Business Grants Fund or the Retail, Hospitality and Leisure Business Grants Fund initiatives.

92 out of 227 local authorities have not yet distributed grants to 75 per cent of eligible businesses in their area, whilst eight councils have failed to allocate the crucial funding to 60 per cent of businesses.

The five local authorities that have distributed to the lowest percentage of eligible businesses

Local AuthorityInitial AllocationNumber of hereditaments that the local authority has identified may be in scope to receive a grant as at 10 MayNumber of grant payments made to hereditaments as at 10 MayValue of payments (£)Percentage of eligible business allocated funding
London Borough of Harrow£42,216,0002,8001248£21,165,00044.57%
Sandwell Metropolitan Borough Council£73,036,0005,8872,929£33,535,00049.75%
Mid Devon District Council£22,732,0002,7131,382£15,845,00050.94%
Slough Borough Council£17,988,0001,288694£10,105,00053.88%
London Borough of Hillingdon£45,756,0003,9002,193£30,735,00056.23%

Conversely, only one council – Westminster City Council – has distributed its full allocation of COVID-19 grant funding to all eligible businesses, whilst 29 local authorities have now issued grants to over 90 per cent of eligible businesses.

The five local authorities that have distributed to the highest percentage of eligible businesses

Local AuthorityInitial AllocationNumber of hereditaments that the local authority has identified may be in scope to receive a grant as at 10 MayNumber of grant payments made to hereditaments as at 10 MayValue of payments (£)Percentage of eligible business allocated funding
Westminster City Council£78,090,0004,4644,464£81,075,000100.00%
Chichester District Council£37,086,0003,0273,012£36,435,00099.50%
Hyndburn Borough Council£24,558,0001,9141,887£20,565,00098.59%
Kettering Borough Council£17,922,0001,3911,370£16,625,00098.49%
London Borough of Ealing£68,212,0004,9304,822£66,055,00097.81%

Interestingly, analysis of the data by Bankier Sloan Chartered Surveyors and Retail Express suggests that multiple local authorities have received more funding than required, with many set to have surplus funding after paying out all potential eligible businesses.

Out of the 227 local authorities allocated grant funding from central government, 38 will have funding remaining after paying their remaining eligible businesses the higher £25,000 grant.

With 27 potentially eligible SMEs left to pay and just under £4 million funding remaining, Hyndburn Borough Council has the highest over-allocation after paying its businesses £10,900 on average.

The five local authorities with the largest over-allocation of funding

Local AuthorityInitial AllocationPercentage of eligible business allocated fundingPercentage of funding allocatedAmount of money still unallocatedNumber of premises still to receive fundingThe average sum still to be allocated per propertyThe average sum already granted to each property
Hyndburn Borough Council£24,558,00098.59%83.74%£3,993,00027£147,888.89£10,898.25
Colchester Borough Council£42,124,00092.72%66.95%£13,924,000173£80,485.55£12,806.54
Telford & Wrekin Council£35,240,00096.71%82.53%£6,155,00083£74,156.63£11,939.66
Tendring District Council£80,270,00075.50%32.76%£53,970,000756£71,388.89£11,287.55
Kettering Borough Council£17,922,00098.49%92.76%£1,297,00021£61,761.90£12,135.04

Bankier Sloan Chartered Surveyors’ Ian Sloan commented: “It is very clear from the latest figures that many councils have received an over-allocation of funding under the scheme as originally proposed.

“We fully appreciate the considerable effort put in by local council’s across England to distribute the funds. It has not in many cases been easy.  Local businesses should continue to apply for their grants. Local councils are wanting to assist their local businesses backed by this massive central government funding.”

The Small Business Grant Fund (SBGF) provides businesses in England in receipt of either Small Business Rates Relief (SBRR) or Rural Rates Relief (RRR) in the business rates system a £10,000 grant.

The Retail, Hospitality and Leisure Grant (RHLG) offers businesses in England with either a £10,000 or £25,000 grant per property, depending on the rateable value of the property. Importantly, businesses which are not ratepayers in the business rates system are not included in the initiative.

Retailers in the mobility sector that believe that they may be eligible for either grant but have not yet received one should contact their local authority as soon as possible.

Click here to see the full breakdown of local authority grant payments as of 10 May 2020.

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