In November 2020, the Conservative party created the Additional Restrictions Grant (ARG) which provides local councils with grant funding to support closed businesses that do not directly pay business rates as well as businesses that do not have to close but which are impacted. This grant allows local councils to have the freedom to determine the eligibility criteria for these grants.
The grant was designed for;
- businesses that supply the retail, hospitality, and leisure sectors
- businesses in the tourism and events sectors
- business required to close but which do not pay business rates
Bradford Council was awarded £15.6 million to help local businesses that were struggling, closing and about to go under. It is now March and the Council has only awarded £400,000 to Bradford businesses.
So what are they doing with the other £15 million they have sat in the bank? They are certainly not helping local businesses, some of which have already had to permanently close due to the delays in issuing grants by Bradford Council.
“This is not the first time this Labour Council has been slow to support businesses and it has cost the people of our city” – Mohammed Jamil Bowling & Barkerend
The lack of business support during Covid lockdowns from the council has been abysmal, they shut down the business grants support phone line, took weeks to reply to emails and the criteria they set was confusing and difficult to find. The Conservative government gave them the funds to support local businesses and this Labour council failed to do that.
“Bradford needs jobs, that’s a fact and this Labour Council seems to be content to stand by and watch the city decay, while handing out a 2% pay rise for council workers” – Jac Morton Thornton & Allerton
This sluggish response has forced many businesses to shut down, seeing many much-needed jobs disappear.