‘Bizarre complaints’ over Covid-19 grants

Reporter: Charlotte Green
Date published: 26 February 2021

Oldham’s council leader has claimed people receiving Covid-19 support grants have been making ‘bizarre complaints’ about getting them ‘slowly’ online.

At a meeting of the cabinet, Councillor Sean Fielding said that the authority’s team had been distributing the central government grants for businesses forced to close during the pandemic ‘incredibly quickly’.

There are a range of local restrictions support grants, which are designed to support businesses impacted by coronavirus restrictions with a rateable value from less than £15,000 to £51,000 or over.

Coun Fielding said: “Our finance and our regeneration team have been incredible in administering the business grants and getting them out to businesses and self-employed individuals incredibly quickly, despite what some people might say on the internet.

“Some people who themselves have actually had the grants quickly, which was a bizarre complaint to say they have been administered slow when you’ve had £10k off the council yourself.

“People say these things and I know it’s not representative and I know that out there people are very appreciative of the response of the council.

“I’ve had that when I’ve been speaking to people at the vaccination centre or during my conversations with electors ahead of the local elections that there is genuine appreciation out there amongst the silent majority of Oldhamers for the incredible work the council is doing.”

This year discretionary funds of £4,000 grants have also been made available using a central government scheme to eligible self-employed businesses in the leisure and hospitality sectors, and driving instructors. 

One off grants of at least £2,000 have also been made available to support businesses which directly supply the hospitality and leisure sectors and have suffered a loss in trade due to local or national restrictions.

Commenting on the launch of the additional grants, cabinet member for finance, Coun Abdul Jabbar said: “They will support many more small businesses across the borough who work in some of the hardest-hit sectors. 

“We will continue to listen to the needs of our local businesses and bring more schemes forward to ensure those who need our help get it.”

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