Business leaders across Cornwall and the Isles of Scilly are calling for more grant support from the Government after the latest round of funding for pandemic-hit local businesses was over-subscribed by £14.5m.

In an open letter to Chancellor Rishi Sunak, the Cornwall and Isles of Scilly Local Enterprise Partnership, alongside Cornwall Chamber of Commerce, the Federation of Small Businesses, Cornwall Manufacturers Group, Visit Cornwall, Cornwall Marine Network, Cornwall Business Improvement Districts and the Islands’ Partnership on Scilly have urged for additional discretionary funding in order to ensure a strong economic recovery.

In the letter, business leaders claimed that, "whilst we have put successive rounds of COVID-19 funding to good use it is clear that, based on demonstrable demand, we need additional discretionary funding to ensure a strong recovery of our economy, secure jobs and prevent businesses from closing.”

Calls have been made for an additional £20.3m in discretionary grant funding to cover current and future demand if the current lockdown continues, an extension of the VAT reduction scheme, deferral of tax payments and loan repayments, more flexibility on business rates, and an extension of the furlough scheme beyond April 2021.

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Cornwall Council, which administers the grants on behalf of the government, has warned that without the extra money it will only be able to pay businesses around half of what they have asked for due to the fact that the latest discretionary funding round was over-subscribed by £14.5m.

Mark Duddridge, chair of the Cornwall and Isles of Scilly Local Enterprise Partnership, said, “thousands of local businesses are facing a cashflow crisis as a result of the pandemic and can’t get support because our allocation of discretionary funding doesn’t match the need.

"Meanwhile we know that nationally there is discretionary funding sitting dormant in bank accounts and under-used.

“We’re urging the Chancellor to use that money provide a lifeline to see our businesses through these dark days and into recovery."

The letter also states that, due to Cornwall and Isles of Scilly’s rurality and the size of the tourism sector, there is a higher prevalence of businesses that are ineligible for mandatory grant schemes as they are not on the business rate register.