THE Royal Borough may have to refund the government nearly £2.5 million if businesses don’t apply in time for grant funds.

In March, the peak of the pandemic, Chancellor of the Exchequer Rishi Sunak announced a £12 billion scheme consisting of two one-off loans of anywhere between £10,000 and £25,000 for businesses affected by the lockdown.

Local authorities across England were given a fixed amount to distribute to organisations within their area.

On August 28, the government will cease the small business and the hospitality, retail, and leisure grant funds and any money leftover after that will have to be refunded to central government.

According to figures on the government’s website, 105 eligible businesses within the Royal Borough are still left to take advantage of the grants.

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The Royal Borough of Windsor and Maidenhead (RBWM) Council received over £28 million to give to local organisations and just over £26 million has been paid out.

The council identified 1,911 eligible businesses entitled to the grant and 1,806 have received their payments.

RBWM announced it received nearly £2 million from the government’s local authority discretionary grant fund – which is specifically for small businesses impacted by Covid-19 who weren’t eligible for the previous grants.

The council decided to reopen applications since June where previous applicants ‘need not to apply’.

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In the guidelines, it states: “Due to the limited funds available, and the likelihood of applications outweighing the available funds, the applications will be administered on a first come first served approach.

“This means that, once funding has been exhausted, no further applications will be considered even where applicants may fit the overall criteria.”

Small businesses wishing to apply must demonstrate that their income has been severely impacted because of the coronavirus, they were actively trading on their premises on March 11, and have ongoing fixed building-related costs which are less than £51,000 per annum.

Applications are now open until August 28.

More information can be found here: