London Chamber of Commerce and Industry (LCCI) has written to the Government calling for the closure of a coronavirus support fund for businesses to be delayed by a month.
The Government’s Discretionary Grant Fund (DGF) was announced in May to help support micro and small businesses who were in financial hardship due to Covid-19 and were unable to access funding from other grants funds – such as small businesses in shared offices or other flexible workspaces, or regular market traders.
The Government has written to councils, who administer the funds for their local area, to instruct that discretionary funds across the country (along with the Small Business Grant Fund / Retail, Hospitality and Leisure Grant Fund) must close by 28 August 2020.
Once the final payments have been made on all schemes it will be necessary for local authorities to return any unspent funds to the Department for Business, Energy & Industrial Strategy.
Writing to Business Secretary Alok Sharma, LCCI CEO Richard Burge called for the Government to extend the closure of the scheme until 30 September.
He said: “The DGF is by its nature not as lean as the other two grant schemes. Each application requires a significant amount of due diligence.
“Furthermore, for the vast majority of businesses this is the first time they have put together an application of this type.
“Not every firm gets the right documentation, which adds work to the approval process. For this reason councils must be given further time to process as many applications as possible and ensure the allocated funds can be sent to hard-hit firms.”