Councils are yet to distribute £1.7bn of funding given to them to support small businesses through the pandemic, new figures have revealed.
Business rates experts at Colliers International are calling for the Government to re-divert the funding to businesses that have 'fallen through the cracks' as they are not entitled to any financial help.
The figures shows that of the £12.33bn allocated to councils through the Small Business Grants Fund (SBGF) and Retail, Hospitality and Leisure Grants Fund (RHLGF), 14% has yet to be distributed.
The research finds that 19 local authorities have paid out less than 75% of the grants they were allocated.
John Webber, head of business rates at Colliers International, said: 'Perhaps it would be sensible to conclude that if after 15 weeks 40% of businesses in places like Bournemouth still have not claimed funds, it probably means the grant allocated is very unlikely to be used. The Government might consider clawing back any grant monies not distributed by certain local authorities to use in those areas where businesses do need greater support.
'The current set up is just not working. There are hundreds of businesses that need grant help which are still being denied it - in the City and in other regional centres of the UK.'