More than 1,000 Cumbrian businesses have applied for a cut of a multi-million-pound Government scheme to help them during the coronavirus pandemic.

Applications for the Local Authority Discretionary Grants Fund opened at the start of June, with business owners having two weeks to apply to Carlisle City Council, Allerdale Council, Copeland Council or Eden Council.

Councils are now sifting through the 1,166 applications received to determine who will benefit from the scheme, which offers grants of up to £25,000 to firms with fewer than 50 staff that haven’t received either the Coronavirus Small Business or Retail, Hospitality and Leisure grants.

Carlisle City Council received the most applications, with about 500 businesses requesting a cut of the £1.36million it has been allocated to distribute.

Councillor John Mallinson, the city council’s leader, said: “The council is now sifting through the applications and will come to a view then start paying these out as soon as possible.

“We hope to be able to assist people who didn’t qualify for the last batch of funding.

“It is a relatively small amount but it is a little bit of a pick-me-up for people and every little bit can help in these times.”

Allerdale Council – which has been allocated £1.995million – received 273 applications and has asked some applicants for further details.

An Allerdale Council spokesman said: “We’re currently working through them all to check eligibility and encourage those applicants we’ve asked for more information from to respond back to us as soon as possible.”

Eden Council received more than 50 applications during the first 24 hours of the scheme and finished with 240 applications for a share of its £1.3million fund.

And Copeland Council – which was allocated £853,250 – received 147 applications.