Friday, December 2, 2022

Only one successful bidder for Tiger scheme in Thurrock

EARLIER this year, hundreds of businesses attended a series of events that encouraged them to take out business loans.

The scheme was titled: TIGER (Thames Gateway Innovation, Growth and Enterprise).

The scheme was a joint enterprise between Kent and Thurrock Council.

But several months later, YT can reveal that only one Thurrock business has been successful in bidding for funding.

Several companies (there are 4000 in the constituency of Thurrock) have complained to YT that it is the paperwork that has been the biggest problem.

One company that did not wish to be named said: “We like to think that we are seasoned “bidders” but this was just a maze of never ending paperwork.

“We have never seen anything like it. No wonder so many companies have given up bidding.”

At the time, the scheme seemed very attractive, especially the aspect of a zero per cent loan fund available to businesses.

The leader of Thurrock Council, John Kent promoted the scheme. He said (at the time): “I am told that in Thurrock alone, five of ten applications for TIGER funding are being progressed and could mean 71 new full-time and 10 new part-time jobs – as well as helping preserve 54 existing jobs.

“The TIGER scheme launched locally in March this year and is part of the government’s £2.4 billion Regional Growth Fund. It offers low-interest loans to businesses investing in new products and services creating long-term job opportunities.

But several months later it was down to his press officers to explain what ‘went wrong”.

A Thurrock Council spokesperson said: “Ten companies applied for funding: One has successfully obtained funding; another is going to the panel next week, one is awaiting a “full” application, one is on hold, four were declined, and two withdrew.

When quizzed about the maze of paperwork, the spokesperson said: “The process is set by the government, which provided the money and we have to follow it. We have to account for every penny of public money spent. We know it is difficult and lengthy which is why there is a lot of support available.

“If businesses engage with us and explain what specifically in the process they find difficult, we could work with them, either to amend it (if possible) or to help them through.

“We are trying to inject £4 million into the local business community by March 2015 and want this to be a success.”

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