To note the report on the Additional Restrictions Grant Update.
The Committee received an update on the additional restrictions grant (ARG), of £3 million from central government to support businesses during the pandemic. Money had been allocated in tranches as the economic development team had thought best.
The Senior Economic Development Officer reported that grants were initially used for business survival, but later on for business growth and included shop front grants, equipment grants, business support, 1-2-1 business coaching, digital media marketing training, and website development.
The Town Centre Manager reported on positive feedback from a survey of local businesses, where two-thirds of the respondents so far expect their businesses to remain the same or grow. The Town Centre Manager would continue to push for business growth and initiatives which assisted local people.
A representative from Pro-actions, a business support consultancy, gave a short presentation on the assistance provided to small business owners via 1-2-1 support, seminars at the Spelthorne Business Hub, advice on strategy, planning and sales, budgeting forecasting, and profit and loss control.
The Committee noted that helping businesses to be more sustainable was included within one of the projects in the Shared Prosperity Fund Investment Plan.
The Committee noted the recommendations from the Internal Audit (IA) review and the difference in risk appetite between the IA and economic development departments.
The Committee congratulated the economic development team on its success in distributing the ARG grant and on winning a national award from the Federation of Small Businesses.