Rugby council to hire experts to manage how local businesses get a share of £900k recovery fund

Councillors voted unanimously to support the plan

Rugby town centre, just after the most recent lifting of lockdown restrictions.

Rugby Borough Council is to pay outside experts £85,000 to sift through applications for the latest round of Government funding aimed at helping businesses recover and grow as they emerge from lockdown.

More than £916,000 will be available to applicants across the borough hoping to take advantage of the additional restrictions grants [ARG] - but it needs to be claimed by the end of March.

Previous awards under the scheme have totalled nearly £3.15m with 349 businesses befitting - those businesses not covered by the local restrictions support grants or restart grants. It was a form of emergency funding during lockdown or restriction periods.

But a report considered at this week’s (August 25) full council meeting explained the circumstances had changed ahead of the latest round of grants when £916,176 will be available with individual awards of between £1,000 and £50,000.

It said:” The removal of Covid legal restrictions allows the council to properly target this new ARG fund at assisting Rugby businesses to recover and grow. This requires an additional level of business support knowledge and due diligence review work conducted on each application to best prioritise use of the fund.

“Unfortunately, the council does not have sufficient internal resources to undertake this efficiently and effectively.”

Instead, Rugby Borough Council will buy in the services of the Coventry and Warwickshire Growth Hub to administer the review process and make recommendations. They are charging £85,000 for managing the scheme which will be funded from the ARG fund. A similar agreement is already in place with Stratford District Council.

Councillors voted unanimously to approve the proposals.