More than £7.8 billion in grant funding has been delivered to small businesses through local authority grant schemes, it has been revealed.

The research, published by the Department for Business, Energy & Industrial Strategy (BEIS), serves as a reminder of the support available to firms affected by Covid-19.

According to the figures, councils have issued £7.8 billion to businesses through Local Restrictions Support Grants, Christmas Support Payments and Additional Restrictions Grants since August last year.

This support also includes discretionary grants, which are targeted at businesses who need financial support but are not eligible for funding through initiatives such as the Retail, Hospitality and Leisure Grant Fund.

However, the research reveals that some councils are taking longer than others to process applications and assess eligibility, leading to a substantial backlog. The Government said it is “tirelessly” working with authorities to ensure funds are paid out “as quickly as possible to those that need it”.

Commenting on the figures, Small Business Minister Paul Scully said: “I know from speaking to businesses just how much they have benefited from government grants, which have enabled them to cover their fixed costs, adapt and plan to build back better from the pandemic.

“We are working closely with council leaders across England to ensure that this much-needed support gets to hard-pressed businesses as soon as possible.”

Small businesses can also find financial support through the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme (CJRS), Bounce Back Loans (BBL), the Coronavirus Business Interruption Loan Scheme (CBILS), business rates relief, or the new VAT payment deferral scheme.

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