MORE than £14m has been paid to small businesses in Bury through a government grant scheme.

A total of 1,159 businesses have received payments of £10,000 with a further 108 receiving grants of £25,000.

Bury Council started paying the grants to eligible businesses on Wednesday, April 1 after estimating that around 3,170 businesses will benefit from the grants.

The local authority aims to make payments within two weeks of receiving bank account details.

Chief executive Geoff Little revealed that 37 per cent of the grants have been processed so far.

He said: “We are making good progress but we do still need businesses to keep contacting us from our website.

“We’ve had more staff on this. We had staff on at weekend working to get this money out. Particularly for the £10,000 grants.”

The council is able to pay the £25,000 grant automatically because business rates receipts identify which businesses are eligible.

But many firms eligible for the £10,000 do not pay business rates so their bank details are not on the council’s payment system.

These businesses must notify the council by visiting its website and registering their details.

Mr Little added: “The message is getting through but there’s still a long way to go. The more people realise they need to contact us the better.”

The council is also offering to help businesses apply for the Greater Manchester local enterprise hardship fund.

The Greater Manchester Combined Authority has put aside £3m to support businesses across the region. The scheme, now live, is aimed at helping businesses waiting to get help through the government’s loan scheme.

Council leader David Jones said that helping businesses cope during the coronavirus crisis is a top priority for the local authority.