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Cornwall Council calls for urgent financial support for Cornish businesses after grant applications soar

Cornwall Council leaders have written to chancellor Rishi Sunak urging the government to provide more money to support Cornish businesses struggling as a result of the pandemic.
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It comes after a surge of applications for the latest Additional Restrictions Grant (ARG) scheme outstripped available funds by more than £14.5m. 
This shortfall means that unless more money is freed up by government, Cornwall Council will be unable to pay each business more than 50% of the money they’ve asked for.
Cornwall Council cabinet member for the economy, Tim Dwelly, said: “Throughout the pandemic we’ve worked hard to get grant money to businesses that need it as quickly as possible – indeed, the government praised us for doing just that.
“But now we’re in the position of having to make incredibly difficult decisions about how we deliver these grants, because there simply isn’t enough money to go around.
“That’s why we’re urging the chancellor to free up more funds to support businesses here in Cornwall. This can’t wait. He needs to take action now if we’re to prevent an already critical situation from getting worse.”
The letter calls for an additional £20.3m in discretionary grant funding, an extension of VAT reduction, deferral of tax payments and loan repayments, and an extension of the furlough scheme beyond April 2021.
It says that whilst we have put “successive rounds of COVID-19 funding to good use” it is clear that, based on demand, Cornwall needs additional discretionary funding to ensure a strong recovery of our economy.
“Cornwall and the Isles of Scilly want to be a model of strong and rapid local recovery” it reads. “We want to ensure that by June 2021, when the G7 is hosted in Carbis Bay, the government can showcase Cornwall as an example of a local economy that is growing back better following the COVID-19 crisis.
“We have detailed plans for how to quickly get that budget out in the local economy to support businesses to survive and to facilitate a strong recovery, and we are asking you to unlock that funding to make Cornwall and Isles of Scilly a model of how England can build back better.”