BUSINESS aid in Richmondshire has already topped £5.4million.

More than 470 businesses have received cash from the government's scheme to provide small business grants due to the coronavirus pandemic.

The district council said its officers are working hard to turn around applications as fast as possible to get the aid to companies who need it.

They vary from medium-sized companies, hotels and garages to small bed and breakfast, hairdresser and cafe operations.

It launched its online grants service for small business rate relief, rural rate relief and retail, hospitality and leisure grants on Friday March 27 and within four days had verified 72 per cent of the 700 forms received.

That figure had risen to 83 per cent by Friday, April 3, with 956 forms returned and 793 verified.

The council estimates there are around 1,800 district based businesses able to receive help.

"To pay out ?5.4 million in such a short space of time is a massive achievement for our officers who are working hard to make sure everyone entitled to aid gets it as fast as possible,? said council chief executive, Tony Clark.

"We realise some of these businesses are struggling to survive and we want to make sure everyone comes out of this pandemic in a position to pick up their businesses and get the Richmondshire economy going once more."

To make applications businesses are asked to follow these links: businesses entitled to Small Business Rate Relief or Rural Rate Relief as at 11 March 2020 are able to receive a grant of £10,000; and businesses in receipt of a retail discount under the Retail, Hospitality and Leisure Grant with a rateable value of less than £51,000 are able to receive a grant of up to £10,000 and for those businesses with a rateable value of greater than £15,000 but less than £51,000 a grant of £25,000:

Richmondshire District Council has also begun implementing the government's increase in the level of business rate discount for retail businesses - taking it from 50 per cent to 100 per cent, including for all of the district's 104 pubs.

Businesses that occupy premises solely or mainly used as shops, pubs, theatres, cinemas, music venues, restaurants and any other business in the retail, hospitality or leisure sector all benefit from this relief.

The change came into play this month and applies irrespective of rateable value, effectively giving qualifying businesses a 12 month rate free holiday.

All pubs should see new bills arriving in the next few weeks.

The council added that waste and recycling collections across Richmondshire will be affected by the Easter holidays.

From the week beginning April 13 all collections running one day late, including on Friday, April 17 when they will take place on Saturday, April 18.

Check on for information.