Over £45 million given to Oldham businesses in grants

Oldham Council say it has now distributed more than £45 million in cash grants to support businesses across the borough impacted by the coronavirus pandemic.

Over 4,000 businesses have benefitted from the Small Business and Retail, Leisure and Hospitality business grants scheme to date.

It means 91 per cent of eligible businesses have now received grants. 

In addition to the £45.790 million in cash grants, the council say it has also distributed £2.5 million in discretionary business grants to 261 companies.

But the authority say the discretionary fund – which was launched to help certain businesses who found they did not meet the criteria of the Small Business and Retail, Leisure and Hospitality grants scheme – is "oversubscribed". 

Cllr Abdul Jabbar (pictured below), Deputy Leader and Cabinet Member for Finance and Green, said: “We are pleased to have distributed more than £45 million in cash grants and hope it will support Oldham businesses and protect jobs as much as possible.

“However, applications to the discretionary fund are double the amount of funding we have available.

“We continue to call on government to allow the local authority to redistribute surplus funding from the cash grants scheme to struggling local businesses – many of whom are facing uncertain futures.”

The funding milestone comes after the council last week launched a ‘Save Oldham’s Services’ campaign - asking local residents to thank the borough's Covid-19 heroes by urging the government to provide fair funding to the council.

The council say it has been left with a £20 million shortfall in its budget, and it needs the government to "give us the funding we need to be able to continue to help our residents through these challenging times". 

Cllr Jabbar added: “Thank you to all the key workers who have worked tirelessly over the past few months including those who have worked around the clock to process millions of pounds in grants - but we know many businesses and residents continue to struggle.

“We need fair funding from government – so we can continue to distribute financial support to those businesses falling through the cracks and so we can continue to provide vital services to our residents when they need them most. Please support us – so we can support you.”

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