Coronavirus: Small business owners waiting on much-needed grant from Redbridge Council after it was paid into wrong account
PUBLISHED: 18:42 14 April 2020 | UPDATED: 19:05 15 April 2020
Despite £50million available in small business grants for coronavirus relief, some Redbridge owners complain they have no idea when they’ll get their money.
Through the small business grant and the retail, hospitality and leisure grant Redbridge Council has already paid out more than £16m. But some business owners are still waiting for their money after two weeks.
The council says it aims to pay out the grants within six business days.
Farah Aziz and Amit Sharma, who own Fami Hair and Beauty in Ilford, were paid after just two days but not to the account they listed on the application. They say the money went to an old account they no longer have access to.
More than a week after they submitted their application they called to check the status only to find out the council had deposited the funds into the wrong account.
Farah said: “Due to the council’s incompetence we are losing on the important grant which is needed to help our small business to cope with these tragic times.
“We are in a desperate situation.”
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A council spokesman said: “The funds were paid into an account that the Council had been instructed by the business to take business rate direct debits from previously. The Council weren’t informed that this account was no longer active.
“The money has now been returned and we’re pleased to confirm that the funds will be paid into the businesses preferred account shortly.”
Speaking about the council’s general response for the grants the spokesman said: “We’ve already paid out more than £16million in grant funding to help revitalise the local business economy, and we’re working through claims as quickly as possible.
“We aim to process these within six working days, but some may regrettably take longer. Please bear with us at this exceptionally busy time.”
Rubila Amjad, who owns Shugilite Salon, in Green Lane, said she filed her application more than nine days ago but hasn’t received her money yet and can’t get through to the council to check the status.
She said: “My landlord is asking me for rent and I keep calling the council and their lines are busy and I can’t get through.”
Selina Rana, owner of Grace Hair and Beauty, which has branches in Seven Kings and Basildon, said she received her grant funds from Basildon Council within a week but hasn’t received a response from Redbridge Council yet.
She said: “I have no clue what is going to happen.
“When I called them today they said it could take up to two weeks.”
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