Smaller businesses in London will be hit hardest financially by the Covid-19 pandemic according to recent research.

A survey conducted by Simply Business showed small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) in the capital will be, on average, £5,000 worse off than those in the rest of the UK.

To combat any loss of earnings and loan repayments, many small businesses have turned to the Government – through their local authorities – for financial support.

However, hundreds of businesses in the north-west of the city were still waiting for payments weeks after funding was allocated to their councils.

Harrow Council was among the slowest in the country when it came to processing grants for businesses in the borough though, now, the vast majority expecting to be paid have been.

Cllr Adam Swersky, responsible for finance and emergency response at Harrow Council, explained that the council had to carry out a series of checks to avoid fraud and ensure the correct people are paid.

He added Harrow has a higher percentage of microbusinesses and SMEs than other boroughs and, since many do not have to pay business rates, the council did not have immediate access to payment details.

The council is now moving to allocating ‘discretionary funding grants’ – payments of £10,000 that will be handed out to microbusinesses who are yet to receive support.

A similar process is underway in neighbouring Brent, where the deadline for applications has been extended until Monday (June 29).

In Brent, there are plans to pay more companies but each one will receive just £5,000.

However, both councils have urged the Government to provide more support to businesses, noting that the current amounts have been “nowhere near enough” to help everyone.

This was mirrored by the responses to the survey, as two in five (40 per cent) SMEs said they do not feel supported by the Government and just under a third (30 per cent) said the help they are getting is not sufficient.

Alan Thomas, the UK chief executive of Simply Business, said, while the challenge is “far from over” for SMEs, they are “showing their resilience” and he “expects to see levels of optimism rise as lockdown continues to be eased”.