Cardiff councillor accused of mishandling pandemic business grant scheme

(Title Image: Wales Online)

A dance studio owner in Cardiff has accused Labour’ Cllr. Ramesh Patel – who works in the office of the First Minister and Kevin Brennan MP – of mishandling Welsh Government business grants relating to the coronavirus pandemic aimed at those businesses which are eligible for small business rate relief.

Cllr. Patel claimed £10,000 in grants as the registered bill payer and landlord of the studio. While this isn’t against the rules, the owner of the studio, Vickie Bennett, argued that the money should’ve been passed on to herself and other tenants.

Cllr. Patel said he intended to use the grant to offer tenants a rent holiday and has threatened to withdraw this offer unless the accusation is also withdrawn.

Following questions from Neil McEvoy MS (Ind, South Wales Central) in the Senedd several weeks ago, the Finance Minister confirmed the grant is awarded to the registered bill payer.

The Federation of Small Businesses told BBC Wales that while Welsh Government guidance states that the grant money doesn’t have to be passed on to tenants, they would hope landlords would “show understanding” towards the needs of small businesses.