There is an excellent piece on Dave Lane’s LinkedIn feed and on his consultancy website Development in Social Enterprise analysing recently released figures for grants made to businesses under the Small Business Grants Fund (SBGF) and the Retail, Hospitality and Leisure Business Grants Fund (RHLGF).
These grants are administered by local authorities.
In the West Midlands almost £208m of this money has not been spent and may be returned to government.
Without knowing whether applications from businesses were lower than anticipated, or whether there were high levels of failed or ineligible applications it is not possible to say how or why this underspend exists.
Whether through extension or re-promotion of the two schemes in question or repurposing of the funds so that they can be used as part of the region’s recovery effort, surely the WMCA and its constituent local authority members, the WM Mayor, local councillors, officers and the region’s MPs should be working to ensure that this funding is not lost to the region.
The WMCA has established a group called the West Midlands Covid-19 Economic Impact Group, which is at the heart of its recovery planning. You can send email to this group. Let’s make sure that this underspend is as widely known about as possible and that all the key players mobilise to prevent its loss to the region.
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