Torridge District Council (TDC) has processed more than £17million in grants for businesses affected by the coronavirus crisis.

The council said staff had given up parts of their weekend to ensure most of those who have applied for a Business Support Grant would receive their pay-out before Easter.

The majority of applications in Torridge have come from 1,700 small businesses who will each receive £10,000, many of which are expected to be in bank accounts by Thursday (April 9).

The council is now turning its attentions to the higher rate paying businesses that will receive £25,000 from the Government. Those payments are expected to be received by April 14.

The Government has set aside an estimate of £24million for businesses in Torridge.

TDC’s strategic resources manager, Steve Hearse, asked applicants to refrain from contacting the council while it processed the remaining payments.

He said: “Thanks to the work over the weekend 95 per cent to 98 per cent of applicants will receive funds this Thursday with the remainder also in hand.

“The BACS process takes three working days so it was important we got as many entered as possible by the end of Monday.

“We will still be processing payments right up until Good Friday and so would ask people only to contact the council if the need is urgent.

“Some applicants may need to be contacted to validate some of the information submitted. However we would urge people to allow us time to work through these and not distract officers by telephoning or emailing unnecessarily.

“We will be working as fast as we can to clear up and action any remaining payments.”

Council leader Councillor Ken James added: “I am extremely grateful to all the staff that voluntarily came forward to work over the weekend.

“This was their decision to support businesses who have been dealing with the fallout of the government’s decision advising closure of most business operations.

“They have worked extremely quickly, manually processing a huge amount of data, with great efficiency.

“It’s an example of how hard many of our officers continue to work behind the scenes to make sure services continue to operate effectively.

“It also reflects the fact that many of us will have friends and family affected by the crisis and a willingness to help each other out where we can – a team spirit which I hope will continue to see us through the challenges we are currently facing.”