SMALL businesses in Dorset are being urged to apply for around £40 million worth of unclaimed coronavirus support funding available in the county.

Dorset Council has so far allocated £94 million worth of small business and hospitality and leisure support grants, but there is still a pot of money waiting to be allocated.

For those business which may have been ineligible before, there is also a discretionary fund available - however the the deadline to apply for this is June 14.

The Government's Cabinet Minister for small business, Paul Scully MP, contacted the Echo in a bid to spread the word to ensure Dorset's local economy doesn't miss out.

Mr Scully was keen to clear up any possible misconceptions business owners may have about the money having to one day be repaid.

He said: "Dorset Council has been working really hard to get this money out - they've got £94 million out to business to support them but there's still £40 million left and we're keen to make sure this money gets to the right hands.

"We're keen to get the word out to people who may have thought it was a loan, not a grant, or may have family or friends who they believe may qualify, and to encourage business owners to get in touch with the local authority."

Grants of up to £10,000 are available to small businesses, while larger businesses in the retail, hospitality and leisure industries may be eligible to receive up to £25,000.

The grants are based on business rates, which means businesses must occupy a property in order to claim, which has led to concerns among some sectors.

Mr Scully explained that the grants had been based on business rates to allow councils to quickly and easily distribute the money.

"We'd had to effectively wrap our arms as a Government around the economy and come up with the schemes that could help the most businesses and that's why the schemes were designed as they were," he added. "We've tried to show as much flexibility to as many sectors as possible.

"The local authorities know which businesses pay non-domestic rates and that's why we know how much money is still available."

Mr Scully also urged businesses that may not previously have been eligible support to apply for a grant from the Local Authority Discretionary Fund for firms that may have fallen through the cracks.

Dorset Council has a share of the national £617 million pot of money to allocate to businesses that have a property cost.

Businesses can check eligibility at