TENDRING council has been amongst the first councils to send out 'absolutely essential' grant payments to business which face financial difficulties due to the coronavirus outbreak.

Government has made available a grant scheme to support companies during these difficult times, with the system being administered by local councils.

Tendring Council (TDC) has been working hard to get the local system up and running and the first tranche of payments were made on Friday.

Under the scheme businesses are urged to complete the questionnaire – also available online – and to return this to the council as soon as possible.

Mary Newton, Tendring council’s cabinet member for business and economic growth, said the council recognised how important it was to get these payments processed quickly.

“It is good to be able to confirm payments are now starting to roll out across the district, and the volume of these payments will be increased over the next few days to ensure as much money as possible reaches businesses this week,” she said.

“Although on the face of it, it is a relatively straight forward task of distributing funding from the Government, a significant number of strands of work had to be brought together to enable us to make payments on such a large scale.

“One of these stands of work has been undertaking activities to prevent fraudulent claims for grants getting through the system.

“Having to tackle fraud is never welcomed and even less so in the current situation where we are trying to focus our resources on getting support out to those in genuine need during this difficult time.”

Neil Stock, Tendring council leader, said he recognises how “absolutely essential it is” for the many eligible businesses in Tendring to get this grant money as soon as possible.

He said: “I asked our officers to make it a top priority.

“I am delighted with the positive way our staff have responded to this challenge and we are among the very first councils to get this funding delivered.

“It is also important to highlight that for those businesses which do not qualify for funding under this scheme, they can still access information, advice and guidance on the full range of support currently available from other sources by visiting the council’s dedicated Covid-19 webpage.”

Businesses were written to with details of how to claim, and the scheme has also been promoted on the council’s dedicated webpage and through social media.

Businesses can apply online, and the link can be found under the business section at tendringdc.gov.uk/coronavirus.