James Mustoe, Cornwall Councillor for Mevagissey, has challenged Cornwall Council over the level of funding proposed for discretionary payments for businesses who have so far missed out on funding under other schemes.
Cllr Mustoe, who has been campaigning on behalf of a number of business types in his division, accused the council leader of scare-mongering after he recently said there was not enough money to go around.
Commenting, James said:
“I was concerned to read in a message sent to councillors on Friday, the Leader of Cornwall Council saying:”
“We’re continuing to lobby government for extra funding, so we can help as many businesses as possible receive the money they so desperately need to see them through this crisis. The cap for funding is at 5% of the original business rates support scheme and given the level of interest in the discretionary scheme this simply will not be enough to help all the businesses which need it.”
“This message later appeared in the public domain and I was contacted by a number of businesses who were concerned about it, thinking that they may lose out.”
“I checked with other businesses and our MP Steve Double and have reread the guidance issued by the Government. This statement is wrong.”
The Government guidance for the scheme says:
“…we will continue to monitor each local authority’s spend performance for the Small Business, Retail, Hospitality and Leisure Grants Funds and the Local Authority Discretionary Grants Fund and ensure they have sufficient funding and the correct 5% cap for the Discretionary Grants Fund and will top up funding where necessary.”
“So what the Leader of the Council is saying is simply not true.”
“This is not the first time, not even this week, where the Council has rushed out a statement before reading the guidance properly.”
“I appeal to Cornwall Council’s administration to please read the guidance properly before sending out misleading, scaremongering statements like this, that worry our businesses, and above all, to hurry up and put a scheme in place that will help those who have so far missed out on funds during the COVID-19 pandemic.”