The latest figures published by the Government show Sandwell is in the top 40 nationally – 39th out of 314 councils – for the total number of grants paid to businesses.
The total now paid to Sandwell businesses, as of Monday (15 June), is £51.2 million, benefiting 4,549 businesses.
This includes small business and retail hospitality and leisure grants. Council leader Councillor Yvonne Davies said: “Our staff have been working flat out to make sure our businesses receive the lifeline grants they need.
“We have gone the extra mile and prioritised helping our businesses at a time when they need help quickly.
“We have processed more grants than many other councils and our team has also received compliments and thanks from many businesses.”
A number of Sandwell businesses identified as being potentially eligible for a grant have not applied for one – despite the council writing to, telephoning and emailing businesses to encourage take-up.
Sandwell has a high number of small businesses that do not have to pay business rates.
The council had to write to 96% of potentially eligible businesses inviting them to apply for a grant and provide bank details. In many of these cases businesses had changed hands and the council had not been advised. This makes the application and verification process more complex.
Deputy council leader Councillor Wasim Ali, cabinet member for resources and core services, added: “It’s impossible for us to pay businesses that have not applied for a grant, but we have now processed 91% of applications received thanks to the hard work of our staff.
“The team is working as quickly as possible to process outstanding claims while also making sure applications are fully checked and verified.”
Councillor Ali added: “We continue to support our businesses community through this difficult period. We have also helped more than 1,100 businesses with business rates relief, awarding more than £35 million.
“And on 2 June, we launched the Discretionary Business Grant Scheme, encouraging small and micro businesses to apply for the latest support available.”