The Executive Director of Finance and Resources presented the Discretionary Business Grant Policy report and in so doing highlighted the following matters for Members’ consideration:
The Revenues Manager introduced the Discretionary Business Grant Policy and explained the scheme to Members and in doing so highlighted the following:
Councillor Thain, Portfolio Holder for Corporate Management, paid tribute to the Executive Director of Finance and Resources, the Revenue Services Manager and their teams for all of the hard work that been carried out in putting together the complex scheme. He confirmed that through all of the preparatory work that had taken place that, going forward, Redditch Borough Council had a clear overview of all businesses in the Borough and this data would be useful in the future.
There was a lengthy discussion regarding the communication with businesses about available funding and it was clarified to Members that any businesses that had previously contacted the Council regarding funding but were not previously eligible would be contacted, the criteria made clear and to inform them that this new scheme had been introduced. The scheme would also be featured on social media channels and on the Council’s website. It was explained to Members that all of the funds would be allocated and that the figures in the table of the main report were estimates based on the information that was available at the time the report was drafted.
Members questioned what the time frame would be from receipt of application to allocation of funds. The Revenue Manager stated that once the scheme had closed all available resources would be utilised in assessing the applications received. The funds would hopefully be available to applicants by the end of June 2020. Members questioned whether there had been any issues with the receipt of funding for businesses during the previous schemes and it was confirmed that in a small number of cases there had been issues with the eligibility of businesses which had been assessed based on historic information. The Revenues Manager reiterated to Members that there was an assurance process in order to ensure that public funds were being used appropriately.
The Chair asked that it be noted that the Overview and Scrutiny Committee thanked the Executive Director Finance and Resources, the Revenues Manager and asked that their teams be thanked for all of their hard work. The Chief Executive of Redditch Borough Council echoed the thanks for allocating as many grants as quickly as possible and in gathering information from local companies to establish a clear overview of businesses within the Borough.
the report be noted.