Restart Grants: Important Update via Manchester City Council

20th Apr 2021

Update via Manchester City Council

Restart Grants: Important information for applicants

The Restart Grant scheme opened for applications on 1 April and to date over 3,000 businesses have made applications. We are working through all of the applications to assess them against the eligibility criteria and conduct appropriate audit checks. 

We appreciate that this is a critical time for small businesses, but please be assured that we are working hard to pay grants to successful applicants as quickly as we possibly can. 

The Government issued guidance on administering the Restart Grants earlier this month which placed very stringent responsibilities on Local Authorities in relation to managing the risk of fraud and payments errors as evidenced in the following extract:

65. For the avoidance of doubt, Local Authorities are required to undertake prepayment checks for all Restart Grant payments. This is a stricter position than that taken for previous COVID-19 business support grant schemes. These checks are required to be undertaken before any payments are issued to businesses, and can be commenced in advance of 1 April 2021. This requirement is not limited to new applicants and should look at both the company and the company’s bank account.

In order to carry out the required checks we have to access external checker tools such as Spotlight and the National Fraud Initiative (NFI) before making final decisions on applications or making payments. Unfortunately, due to the volume of applications being sent for audit at a national level, this process is taking some time.

We understand that this situation is frustrating for businesses, particularly those who were able to re-open from 12 April, but please be assured that we are doing everything we can to speed up the assessment process and make payments to successful applicants as quickly as possible. We hope to be in a position to make the first batch of payments during week commencing 19th April.

Thank you for your patience.

Manchester City Council