New data shows small businesses received £21.3 billion in COVID-19 local authority business support grants

  • Government figures show £21.3 billion allocated to micro, small, and medium sized businesses in England through the COVID-19 business grants scheme
  • new data shows grants supported businesses in many sectors of the economy, including accommodation and food services, wholesale and retail, and arts, entertainment and recreation

Smaller businesses across the whole of England received £21.3 billion through the government’s COVID-19 Local Authority Business Support Grants scheme, a new report has shown.

Micro, small, and medium sized firms across different business sectors benefited from the funds available under the scheme, which was created to support businesses during and to recover from the impact of the global pandemic.

The new data – which includes a sector breakdown for the first time – shows over one-third of all available funding was allocated to the accommodation and food services sector, a part of the economy hit hardest by the pandemic.

The grant scheme was created by the UK government and administered by local authorities, with all regions in England found to have allocated most of their total available funds to businesses in need.

Data shows the accommodation and food services sector received the most funding. Businesses in this sector have also seen significant support from the government’s Hospitality Strategy, published in July 2021.

Firms operating in wholesale retail, arts and entertainment, recreation, and other services industries were also among the different business sectors to receive substantial help under the scheme. A full breakdown of allocations is below.

Sector Percentage of funds Value of funds
Accommodation and Food Services 36% £8.2bn
Other Services* 19% £4.3bn
Wholesale and Retail Trade 16% £3.5bn
Arts, Entertainment and Recreation 14% £3.2bn
Transportation and Storage 10% £2.2bn
Manufacturing 1% £0.2bn
All other sectors 4% £0.9bn

*Other Services includes the activities of membership organizations, the repair of personal and household goods and a variety of personal service activities not covered elsewhere in classifications.

Small businesses and others have also been supported through initiatives including the government’s Recovery Loan Scheme (RLS), which has backed almost 19,000 firms with average support of £202,0000 each, as well as the increase in Employment Allowance, slashing of fuel duty, and the introduction of business rates relief for high street businesses.

The government remains committed to supporting small businesses, and firms of all sizes, as they recover from the impact of COVID-19 and prepare themselves for a bright, prosperous, and innovative future.

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