MORE than 40 businesses in Caerphilly have signed an open letter to the council over difficulties in accessing financial support as a result of the coronavirus.

A group of 45 small businesses across the county borough signed the open letter because of “collective desperation, ignored messages, unanswered calls and disregarded emails.”

Businesses in Wales can apply for two grants to support them through the coronavirus pandemic, after the Welsh Government announced a £200 million support package.


However, Caerphilly businesses said the council is not acting fast enough.

The open letter to the council says: “We know our competitors in Cardiff, Newport, the Vale of Glamorgan, Blaenau Gwent, Monmouth and Bridgend began to receive payments over a week ago.

“In our neighbouring authority, Rhondda Cynon Taff, which is directly comparable in terms of size, scope and scale, businesses have applied and received remittance advices within three days.

“They are now able to reassure their staff of their futures; we cannot do the same.”



Business owners also took to social media to voice their concerns on the matter.



Independent Group councillor Kevin Etheridge said the traders have his full support and he has written to the council asking for clarification on the matter.

So far the county borough council has approved £5.5 million in emergency coronavirus business grants.

The council’s chief executive Christina Harrhy said it was important that payments “are made correctly.”


As of this morning (April 6), 452 businesses had been given the go-ahead to receive the funding and the first batch of payments will start filtering into bank accounts from tomorrow.

The council has currently received around 1,700 applications and has processed just over a quarter of these.

They expect to issue £36 million in grants to more than 3,000 businesses to help deal with the pandemic.

The council’s deputy leader Cllr Sean Morgan said: “We are aware of the publication of an open letter from a group of local businesses concerned about the perceived delay in processing these grants.

“I would like to assure the whole business community that we are working seven days a week to process these grants and our processing rate to date is very much in keeping with the national position.

“I appreciate that businesses are keen to receive this money as quickly as possible, but we also have a responsibility to ensure due diligence when it comes to issuing public funds.

“I would like to thank everyone for their patience and understanding as we try our best to respond to the challenges of this national emergency and I would also like to re-emphasise our full support to the local businesses community.”