To deal with any motions on notice from Members of the Council, in the order in which they have been received.
The Chairman explained that 4 Motions on Notice had been received for consideration at the meeting. However, Councillor M. Thompson had withdrawn his Motion and Councillor J. Till had requested that her Motion should be considered at the following Council meeting. Group leaders had agreed prior to the meeting that up to 2 hours would be allocated to the consideration of Motions on Notice.
Appealing discretionary grant scheme decisions
Members considered the following Motion on Notice submitted by Councillor R. Hunter:
“Council welcomes the introduction of an appeals process for local business owners who have unsuccessfully applied to discretionary grant schemes such as Additional Restrictions Grant and Wet Led Pubs grant.
Council notes that this is not well known within communities and resolves to publish more detailed information including on the website and in outcome letters.
Council further resolves to report on the volumes and outcomes of appeals to the Overview and Scrutiny Committee, for at least the next 6 months, or longer if the committee believes this is required.”
The Motion was proposed by Councillor Hunter and seconded by Councillor S. Robinson.
In proposing the Motion, Councillor Hunter noted that the Council had received over £32 million funding from the Government which had been distributed amongst eligible local businesses that had been impacted by the Covid-19 pandemic. However, whilst some companies had successfully applied for grant funding other businesses had been unsuccessful. Councillor Hunter expressed concerns that some businesses did not appear to be aware of their right to appeal. In addition, he raised concerns about the eligibility criteria for the various forms of grant funding available to businesses and the extent to which these were meeting the needs of local companies.
In seconding the Motion, Councillor Robinson commented that this was an important Motion. Councillor Robinson praised the work of the Financial Services team to date in distributing grant funding to businesses but noted that she was keen to ensure that the Council did everything possible to support all businesses impacted by the pandemic, including those companies which had not been successful in bidding for funding. The involvement of the Overview and Scrutiny Board in reviewing this matter would help to ensure that there was transparency in respect of the decisions on funding that had been made.
In responding to the Motion, the Portfolio Holder for Finance and Enabling noted that the Council had distributed over £32 million of Covid business grant funding to over 2,000 businesses. Where an application for a mandatory grant was unsuccessful, for example where a business which had been able to remain open had applied for a closure grant, the applicant was automatically considered for the discretionary grant schemes. An appeals process was also in place. The Portfolio Holder for Finance and Enabling commented that he had ensured that action was taken to make people aware of the appeals process, for example through updating decision letters so that the appeal process was clearly set out within the decision and updating the ... view the full minutes text for item 30