Harrow Council has let down the borough’s small businesses during the Covid-19 crisis.
Harrow’s ranking in the league tables for payments of grants to small and medium businesses has been one of the worst in London by a massive margin and during May was the fifth worst in the country.
Yet despite having far fewer business grants to pay compared to neighbouring boroughs like Barnet, Brent, Ealing or Hillingdon; Harrow Council has consistently failed to meet the challenge.
On the 7th of May, Labour Councillor and Portfolio Holder for Finance & Emergency Response, Adam Swersky, called for greater funding from central government for local authorities to handle the impact of the Covid-19 outbreak.
However by the middle of May, Harrow Council had barely paid out 50% of the £42 million initial allocation given to the Council by central government. As a result, less than half of the 2,800 Harrow businesses identified as eligible for the grants had actually been paid by the middle of last month, 6 weeks after lockdown started. Because of this failure, over a thousand Harrow business owners and their employees jobs were being put at risk. The Councils standing in the league table has improved in recent weeks, but the fact that bearly half of businesses entitled to recieve the grant were paid by the middle of May is unacceptable.
Commenting on this performance Cllr. Paul Osborn said “It is disappointing to see Portfolio Holders calling for more Government money when they should be focussed like a laser on getting the money to local businesses who so desperately need this money.”
“Harrow is significantly slower than any other London Borough; the 2nd worst borough has paid 50% more businesses. We need to take all the steps necessary to get this money to hard-pressed local businesses.”