Hampshire firms warned over 'middlemen' making a 'quick buck' on government grants

FIRMS have been warned to avoid middlemen companies offering to secure

Tuesday, 9th June 2020, 12:33 pm
Updated Tuesday, 9th June 2020, 12:33 pm

Businesses have been able to apply for a raft of funding via councils, including the Small Business scheme, and the Retail, Hospitality and Leisure Grant Fund.

As reported last week, between them Portsmouth, Gosport, Havant and Fareham councils have a pot of £99.5m to dish out.

But Gosport Borough Council is telling firms the application process is simple - and warning against involving brokers who will take a cut of the funding.

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The warning posted on its website said: ‘It has come to our attention that there are firms offering to claim the grants for ratepayers for a fee.

‘This is not necessary as you do not need to pay someone to do this for you.

‘Please contact us first before entering into a contract.’

Gosport council leader, Councillor Mark Hook, told The News people were looking to ‘make a quick buck’ in the crisis.

Leader of Gosport Borough Council Cllr Mark Hook. Picture: Malcolm Wells (190611-9615)

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He said: ‘It’s something that we were made aware of that “for a percentage we’ll get you those grants” and of course it’s a very simple form to fill in.

‘That's why we’re saying just approach us – you don’t need those middlemen.

‘It's just a few people wanted to make a quick buck out of other people’s expense.’

Cllr Hook said similar schemes run for firms applying for business rates relief, with middlemen firms taking a cut.

Councils are in the middle of running discretionary grant schemes, offering funding for those not eligible for the earlier rounds.

Search on each council’s website for the Local Authority Discretionary Fund where grants of up to £10,000 are available.

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