In Haringey, where our community lives and trades intensively, small and medium-sized businesses claim that they cannot benefit from the grants provided by the government. Many business owners have contacted us stating that they have been facing difficulty in paying their expenses such as rent and bills.These businesses also claim that they have difficulty in reaching out to the council staff.
More than 500 thousand workplaces have so far benefited from the aid which announced by the Minister of Finance, Rishi Sunak, on March 17, which provides £ 10,000 or £ 25,000 support to businesses. More than 50 percent of the £ 12.3 billion total resource the government has brought to local governments has already been distributed to business owners.
However, Haringey Council was one of the slowest local governments in delivering grants to business owners. According to the latest data from the Ministry of Commerce, Haringey Council was able to pay only 719 out of 5, 947 workplaces within its borders. (thirteen percent) The council has yet to distribute £ 12 million of the £ 56 million allocated from the government.
While many councils, especially neighbouring Islington and Enfield, are paying for thousands of businesses, which have verified their records from their own systems through their business rates payments, Haringey Council is looking for businesses to confirm their information.
Recently, a well known 73 year-old business owner among the community has said that he’s been called by a member of council staff and asked to scan the invoices to be sent to council in the pdf format to prove that the business belongs to him. He says the business has been operating for more than 50 years and he paid business rates by direct debit regularly. Indicating that he is in self-isolation at home for the last two months in line with the government lockdown guidelines, he also said that he is not able to use technology as he does not understand it. Council staff told him to send the documents if he wanted to get the grant.
While many councils, especially neighbouring Islington and Enfield, are paying for thousands of businesses, which have verified their records from their own systems, starting from their business rates payments, Haringey Council is looking for businesses to confirm their information.
Haringey Council, which our newspaper approached for the comment, made the following statement regarding the issue. A spokesperson for Haringey Council, said:
“Business grants are a priority for the council. To date, we have issued 25% of business grants to eligible businesses in Haringey, in line with the government’s target. Our business grants team is working tirelessly, seven days a week, to speed up the process to ensure all eligible Haringey businesses receive their grant payment as soon as possible.
“There is a requirement for businesses to satisfy government guidance to be awarded the grants, many of these are as simple as proof of bank account or ID. The council is asking that all businesses fill out the Grant Form so they can be verified and paid their grant. We are also actively contacting eligible business that do not pay the council by Direct Debit to provide the relevant details for payment to be made.”