Small firms in the UK have received less than half of a £20m pot promised by the government which was designed to make up for any shortfall in EU business following Brexit.
Treasury figures show just £8.4m has been allocated so far, with just over 5,000 out of an eligible 113,000 SMEs benefiting from grants worth up to £2,000.
Businesses in Northern Ireland and Wales have claimed less than £670,000 combined.
Opposition politicians have called for the fund to be relaunched and the budget to be significantly increased to support the nation’s smallest businesses.
Liberal Democrat spokesperson Sarah Olney said that: “Smaller firms have borne the brunt of both the pandemic and the government’s botched Brexit deal.
“But instead of offering business owners support to help them get back on their feet, ministers are clobbering them with a manifesto-breaking tax hike.”
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