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Flaw in government’s coronavirus small business grants scheme leaves hundreds of thousands of small firms all at sea

Small companies across the UK are unable to access the Government’s £12bn grants fund for small firms because of an “anomaly” in its design.

The Government established the Small Business Grant Fund last month offering one-off £10,000 grants to firms operating from properties that are eligible for small business rate relief.

The purpose of the grant is to help small firms cope with the often disastrous impact of the state-ordered anti-Covid-19 lockdown on their sales.

But many small firms operate from properties where the landlord handles any business rate charges or relief claims on their behalf, leaving the firms themselves unable to claim the local council-administered grant.

“This is totally perverse,” said Kevin Cunliffe who runs a printing company called Smart Fleet Media in Warrington, Cheshire.

“We pay business rates through our rent and receive nothing. Identical small firms that claim business rates relief and pay no business rates

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