Sutton & Cheam MP Paul Scully, also Minister for London, has been criticised for refusing to allow London councils to keep underspent Covid grants and further support local businesses.
With the lockdown period leaving many firms unable to pay their bills, councils were given funding by the government to distribute to eligible businesses.
Sutton Council received £28 million, of which £25.5 million has been distributed to 1,977 businesses across the borough.
The scheme closes at the end of September, and Sutton still has £2.5 million funding leftover from the scheme. Alongside other London councils, Sutton Council put in a request to retain the unused grant so it could continue to support local businesses still struggling to recover from the impacts of the lockdown.
Paul Scully, Tory Minister for London, has written back rejecting the request and expects the remaining funds to be returned to central government.
Sutton Council’s lead on business matters, Liberal Democrat councillor Jayne McCoy, urged Mr Scully “to do the right thing and let us continue to support businesses in his own constituency”.
Commenting, Councillor McCoy said:
“Sutton Council has £2.5 million in leftover business grants that we can put to very good use supporting hard-pressed local businesses. I am very disappointed that the Tory Minister for London, a Sutton MP, is preventing Sutton businesses benefiting from this funding and instead wants the funds returned to top up the Treasury coffers.
“Sutton Liberal Democrats are clear that this £2.5 million must be used to help local businesses still struggling in this pandemic. Residents would be surprised that Sutton’s Tory MP won’t stand up for businesses in his own borough, and I am urging him to think again.”