CHESHIRE West and Chester Council has paid out £520,396 to 319 businesses under a new Covid financial support grant, according to the authority.

Since launching the scheme on November 10, the council says more than 1,397 firms have applied for the grant, and are urging others to come forward.

Councillor Carol Gahan, cabinet member for legal and finance said: “As expected, we have a high volume of applications and will review each one as quickly as we can.  

“If a decision can be made easily then we hope to let businesses know within five working days. However, there will be some applications that take longer but we still hope to process these within 10 working days.

“We have started making payments to businesses straight away.”

Businesses are eligible for ‘Cheshire West Covid-19 Financial Support for Businesses’ grant if they cannot open or operate as normal during lockdown, and whose normal business model is therefore significantly affected by the lockdown regulations.

The council says organisations involved in the hospitality, leisure, and accommodation sectors — along with non-essential retail, personal care, sports facilities and mobile businesses — all could be eligible.

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