Crucial work has begun to help thousands of businesses in Torbay to access financial support during the Coronavirus pandemic.

Torbay Council is starting to process £47.5 million of grants to businesses operating locally.

This includes the government’s new £10,000 Small Business Grant and the £25,000 grants for retail, hospitality and leisure businesses with a rateable value less than £51,000.

Payment of the Business Grants is a key priority to ensure businesses receive this much-needed support as soon as possible, with the aim to get payments made to businesses that have already registered within 2 weeks.

Councillor Darren Cowell, deputy leader and Cabinet member for finance for Torbay Council, said: “As an authority we recognise the immense pressure on thousands of individuals and businesses - especially as we enter what would usually be the start of our vital tourist season.

“These payments will, we hope, provide some security and together with other measures such as deferred VAT payments, business rate ‘holidays’, the government backed Employee Retention Scheme and government supported loans, we hope that businesses will be able to emerge from this crisis.

“We are also acutely aware there are huge numbers of self-employed who still face significant uncertainty and that waiting until June for payments is a wait too long.

“We will continue to support calls for improved packages for the self-employed and will discuss this and other economic related issues with our two MPs as part of our regular contacts.”

Councillor Swithin Long, Cabinet member for economic regeneration, tourism and housing for Torbay Council, said: “We have now started processing applications and businesses will receive email confirmation when their grant is being processed and required to complete very short final declaration prior to receiving payment.

“We are expecting to process more than 3,000 grants over the coming weeks.

“If you are eligible and haven’t registered yet please visit our support for business web page which also contains all the latest information on the support available.”