SOUTH Lakes MP Tim Farron has written an open letter to the Business Secretary Alok Sharma, urging him to give local councils greater freedom to distribute grants to small businesses that are currently missing out on financial support.

Several weeks ago, a £617m ‘top-up to local business grant funds scheme’ was announced designed for businesses that fall through the cracks such as small B&Bs who pay council tax.

However the guidance issued by the Government states that any business which is eligible for the Self-Employed Income Support grant will not be allowed access to the top up scheme.

In his letter to the Secretary of State, Tim argues that this is unfair as businesses that pay business rates have been entitled even though they are also eligible for the Self Employed scheme.

Mr Farron is urging the Government to change that criteria so that many small businesses are able to benefit from the top up scheme.

Commenting on the letter Mr Farron said: “Small businesses that have been falling through the gaps should not now be denied the ability to claim for the very grant that was set up for them.

“We are not calling for extra money - just a flick of a pen is all it would take for us to save many small businesses from going to the wall.”

“We are urging the Business Secretary to do just that today.”