Almost 100,000 small businesses across the country have already been paid a share of more than £1bn to help support them through the coronavirus crisis, the Local Government Association (LGA) has said.
The LGA said councils had worked at pace to identify and contact eligible businesses to support them to apply for government funding.
Chair of the LGA’s resources board, Cllr Richard Watts, said: ‘Councils are working fast to ensure businesses eligible for this money are receiving it quickly as possible.’
Some councils have created dedicated teams and redeployed staff to make sure they can quickly process applications.
Local government secretary Robert Jenrick said Cornwall, Durham, Northumberland and East Riding of Yorkshire councils had paid out the most so far.
Local authorities have been encouraged to get the grants to firms as soon as possible, with teams in the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy expected to contact billing authorities to check on progress.
In a message to councils, LGA chief executive, Mark Lloyd, explained: ‘The Government is keen to ensure that the support for businesses routed through local authorities is going to be passed quickly to eligible businesses.’