NEWS  ⁄  ECONOMY & ENTERPRISE

Half of COVID-19 support grants unclaimed by Exeter businesses

Exeter City Council in bottom third of local authorities as only 45% of eligible local businesses claim government coronavirus support money.

Exeter city council  Covid-19 

Exeter City Council has distributed less than half of the government’s coronavirus pandemic business support grant funding to local businesses in the city.

Just over 2,000 Exeter businesses are eligible for either the Small Business Grants Fund or the Retail, Hospitality and Leisure Business Grants Fund which local authorities in England are administering on behalf of the government.

Many businesses with premises that qualify for Small Business Rate Relief can claim a grant payment of up to £10,000 where the rateable value of their premises is £15,000 or less.

In addition retail, hospitality and leisure businesses in receipt of Expanded Retail Discount where the rateable value of their premises is between £15,000 and £51,000 can claim a grant payment of up to £25,000.

As grants are provided for each rateable property, businesses with multiple premises may receive more than one grant, and can claim from more than one local authority.

Small retail businesses on Paris Street, Exeter Small retail businesses on Paris Street, Exeter

However government figures released on Monday and updated today reveal that only 45% of 2057 eligible Exeter businesses identified by the council have so far made a claim.

Just over £12 million has so far been paid to 928 businesses, leaving more than half of the £25 million funding pot unclaimed.

This places Exeter in the bottom third of local authorities in terms of the effectiveness of its redistribution of the funds, at 217th of 315.

Torbay Council has so far only distributed just over 25% of the money it was allocated, North Devon Council 23% and Mid Devon District Council, the worst performing in Devon, just 21%, placing all three councils close to the bottom of the national table.

In contrast, Torridge District Council has so far paid grants to over 83% of eligible businesses in its area, placing it in the country’s top ten.

Exeter City Council civic centre entrance on Dix's Field Exeter City Council civic centre

Exeter City Council director Bindu Arjoon said the council was keen to get the money out to businesses.

She said: “We are ready to pay the money to businesses that are struggling and the funds can be paid into their banks within days. All they have to do is respond to the letters or emails that were sent out.”

Exeter City Council began contacting local businesses a fortnight ago to inform them about the funds. Letters have been sent to ratepayers where an email address is not available.

Local business owners are being invited to complete an online claim form on the city council website.


 is editor of Exeter Observer and a director of its publisher Exeter Observer Limited.

Exeter in brief
Exeter in brief

Royal College of Nursing staff at the ROYAL DEVON NHS TRUST have resumed strike action alongside South Western Ambulance Service workers as healthcare professionals across the country stage the biggest strike in NHS history.

Detailed plans for the Honiton Road MOOR EXCHANGE RETAIL PARK have been submitted for approval. Outline planning permission for the development was granted two years ago.

The police inspectorate says DEVON AND CORNWALL POLICE must make urgent improvements after it was found to be inadequate in three of nine areas including responding to emergency and non-emergency calls and managing registered sexual and violent offenders.
Its assessment found two other areas required improvement while two more were graded “good”. A new chief constable was appointed in December after the force was placed under enhanced inspectorate monitoring last year.

DEVON COUNTY COUNCIL is consulting on its draft Exeter Local Cycling and Walking Infrastructure Plan, which is already nearly six years late, until the end of March.

UNIVERSITY OF EXETER staff have resumed strike action over pay, pensions and working conditions alongside Exeter school teaching staff with dozens more strike days planned during February and March.

EXETER CITY FUTURES published the agenda for its last board meeting on 30 January, two months after the meeting was held. It says it is “committed to being completely transparent and open about the things that are discussed at board meetings”. No minutes were included.

DEVON COUNTY COUNCIL is not making sufficient progress with its children’s services since they were judged inadequate in January 2020 according to the latest Ofsted monitoring report which found that key areas still require significant change and serious issues remain.

The UNIVERSITY OF EXETER has submitted detailed plans for its 1,700 bed West Park redevelopment of 50,000m2 of student accommodation.

Royal College of Nursing staff at the ROYAL DEVON NHS TRUST have resumed strike action alongside South Western Ambulance Service workers as healthcare professionals across the country stage the biggest strike in NHS history.

Detailed plans for the Honiton Road MOOR EXCHANGE RETAIL PARK have been submitted for approval. Outline planning permission for the development was granted two years ago.

The police inspectorate says DEVON AND CORNWALL POLICE must make urgent improvements after it was found to be inadequate in three of nine areas including responding to emergency and non-emergency calls and managing registered sexual and violent offenders.
Its assessment found two other areas required improvement while two more were graded “good”. A new chief constable was appointed in December after the force was placed under enhanced inspectorate monitoring last year.

DEVON COUNTY COUNCIL is consulting on its draft Exeter Local Cycling and Walking Infrastructure Plan, which is already nearly six years late, until the end of March.

UNIVERSITY OF EXETER staff have resumed strike action over pay, pensions and working conditions alongside Exeter school teaching staff with dozens more strike days planned during February and March.

EXETER CITY FUTURES published the agenda for its last board meeting on 30 January, two months after the meeting was held. It says it is “committed to being completely transparent and open about the things that are discussed at board meetings”. No minutes were included.

DEVON COUNTY COUNCIL is not making sufficient progress with its children’s services since they were judged inadequate in January 2020 according to the latest Ofsted monitoring report which found that key areas still require significant change and serious issues remain.

The UNIVERSITY OF EXETER has submitted detailed plans for its 1,700 bed West Park redevelopment of 50,000m2 of student accommodation.

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