Cornwall Council has been notified by Secretary of State for Business, Alok Sharma, that all business support government grant schemes will close on August 28, with any unused funding going back to the government.  

Photograph: Dylan Gillis/Unsplash

The council, backed by business leaders across Cornwall, has consistently called on government to increase funding for the discretionary business support scheme, with more than 3,000 Cornish businesses still unable to access any other form of Government coronavirus grant support. 

Tim Dwelly, the council’s portfolio holder for culture, economy and planning, said: “I’m deeply disappointed by this announcement. It’s a real kick in the teeth for Cornish businesses.

“We recognise that the government’s funding packages have provided a lifeline to many businesses, but there simply wasn’t enough money made available in the first place to all those who needed it. To put it another way, despite what the government has claimed, this isn’t about everyone receiving their slice of the cake, it’s that the cake was never big enough.

“We need up to £27m to be able to support over 3,000 businesses, and we’re holding around £37m in ring-fenced funding from the original grants scheme that the government won’t allow us to use unless the businesses that need it meet their original criteria.

“These are otherwise healthy and thriving small and micro-businesses that make an incredibly valuable contribution to the Cornish economy and they should not face the prospect of bankruptcy or closure just because they fall through the gaps of funding criteria.” 

Mr Dwelly added: “If the government allowed us to use that money, we could help those businesses protect jobs, and protect livelihoods. I call on Mr Sharma and Mr Sunak to reconsider their decision and provide our businesses with the help they so desperately need.”