Hundreds of small businesses are seeing millions of pounds dropping into their bank accounts as Swansea Council works flat-out to support them during the Coronavirus pandemic.
Already around £13.2m in grants has been paid out to businesses in the city under arrangements announced by the Welsh Government.
At least another £10m in grants are being approved and they should be arriving in accounts over the coming days.
However, businesses are being urged to be patient while a mountain of applications are sorted and payments continue to be made.
Rob Stewart, Leader of the Council, said:
“We are in unprecedented times and I want to reassure businesses that we are there for them. Most of the schemes announced by the Welsh Government started only last week.
“Our business support and Business Rates teams have been working flat-out over the past week to process as many applications as possible as quickly as we can.”
More than 1,800 applications have been processed for payment worth a total of £24.3m. The council expects that figure to rise to £27m soon and claims for grants in total from Swansea to reach around £55m-£60m.
The Council is urging small businesses to request a grant payment via its online form if they have not done so already www.swansea.gov.uk/coronavirusbusinessgrant .
Queries about applications can be made by email only to [email protected] but as staff are concentrating on making payments, a response may not be sent straight away.
Cllr Stewart said:
“This is just the start of the process. We are continuing to work very hard to ensure that eligible businesses can access the support they need.
“As with other local authorities in Wales, our staff are pulling out all the stops and this is being done while we too are affected by illness and absence due to coronavirus.
“That's why we're asking for understanding while we get through the mountain of applications we've received. We do understand the concerns and anxiety caused by the Coronavirus pandemic for small businesses and we need people to be patient.
“Dealing with queries about payments not yet being made is preventing work being done to get payments processed.”
Cllr Stewart added:
“We are also asking businesses to ensure they have accurately filled out application forms in full. Delays to payments are inevitable if owners don't make sure the information they provide is correct. Our teams also need to run checks so that fraudulent claims from scammers do not get through the net. All this takes time.”