City bridal shop owner’s ‘horrendous’ wait for £10k virus support grant
PUBLISHED: 18:03 24 April 2020 | UPDATED: 08:52 25 April 2020
A Norwich business owner has told of the “horrendous” impact of the delay in receiving the government’s coronavirus grant from the city council.
Kate Nichols, owner of bridal shop The Frock Spot, said she had been left waiting 23 days for her grant to be issued and was forced to repeatedly chase up the council for clarity on when the money would be paid out due to fears over cashflow and supplies.
It comes just a week after city firms told of their “disgust” in the delay receiving payments.
The council says £27m in support has now been paid out and apologised to owners who had been left waiting.
Mrs Nichols said: “It took 23 days to get the grant - it’s too long.
“It was horrendous. It meant because we hadn’t paid suppliers we weren’t getting deliveries.
“Some were really nice and carried on with supplying us.
“We were sat on orders we couldn’t ship, so brides weren’t getting deliveries. We’re reliant on getting payments in from customers for their dresses - they’re made-to-order items.”
Ms Nichols, who runs the bridal firm, in St Benedicts Street, with her daughter Amy, has now received the £10,000 grant.
“We spent hours yesterday paying off bills,” she said.
But she said she was worried the system being used to process payments meant persistence from business owners was being rewarded, with others left waiting.
The 57-year-old said: “The whole process is wrong, what they’re doing I don’t know. The people who shout the loudest are helped.
“There’s no information on what system they’re using.
“People need to know when they can expect the money and they wouldn’t be making so many phone calls.”
“There are people out there who aren’t as persistent as me and it’s the persistence that paid off - that’s what’s wrong.”
A Norwich city council spokesman said: “As of today, we’ve processed nearly 2,000 grants and paid out almost £27m to Norwich businesses.
“We’re sorry that some businesses had to wait a few days more than anticipated while we checked eligibility and made sure we had all the correct details.
“Our team is working really hard during what is an incredibly difficult time.
“We urge any business who have not yet applied and think they may be eligible to visit www.norwich.gov.uk/business-support”
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