COVID-19 – Discretionary fund to support local businesses
Jun 10, 2020
A number of local businesses which have not been eligible for the government’s previous Covid-19 support packages can now apply for funding via a different business support grant scheme.
This scheme is at the discretion of individual local councils, and funds are very limited. In Gloucestershire, Cheltenham, Gloucester, Stroud, Tewkesbury, Cotswolds and Forest of Dean councils have been allocated funding to distribute to those eligible businesses most in need of support.
Which businesses is the discretionary fund aimed at?
The grant is mainly aimed at:
- Small and micro businesses
- Businesses with relatively high ongoing fixed property-related costs
- Businesses which can demonstrate that they have suffered a significant fall in income due to the COVID-19 crisis
- Businesses which occupy property, or part of a property, with a rateable value or annual rent or annual mortgage payments below £51,000.
The local councils will work together to ensure the effective and fair distribution of discretionary grant funding. However the government has prioritised the following types of businesses to be included in the scheme:
- Small businesses in shared offices or other flexible workspaces. Examples could include units in industrial parks, science parks and incubators which do not have their own business rates assessment;
- Businesses in the hospitality industry, with grants for businesses with a rateable value between £51,000 and £105,000;
- Regular market traders with fixed building costs, such as rent, who do not have their own business rates assessment;
- Bed & Breakfasts which pay council tax instead of business rates; and
- Charity properties in receipt of charitable business rates relief which would otherwise have been eligible for small business rates relief or rural rate relief.
When and how to apply
The councils have limited funding available to distribute for this scheme. Therefore the application window is restricted to a two week period, and you need to submit your online application between 9 and 21 June. Be aware – in the Cotswolds and the Forest of Dean, applications opened earlier on 1 June and are therefore closing earlier on 14 June.
Once the application window has closed the applications will be assessed. The level of grant for each category of business will be determined based on demand – the maximum grant that can be awarded is £25,000, the next level is £10,000 and then any amount under £10,000. Grant payments should start being made to businesses from 25 June 2020.
You need to apply directly via your own council’s website. The application form and criteria will be available at:
If any funding remains after all of applications have been assessed and the grants have been awarded, it may be possible to open another application window.
Who cannot apply
You cannot apply if your business is in administration, insolvent or has received a striking-off notice. You also cannot apply if you are already claiming under another government grant scheme, such as:
- Small Business Grant Fund
- Retail, Hospitality and Leisure Grant
- Fisheries Response Fund
- Domestic Seafood Supply Scheme
- Zoos Support Fund
- Dairy Hardship Fund
Businesses that apply for the discretionary grants scheme can still apply for coronavirus-related loans if they are eligible. You are still eligible if you have applied for the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme or the Self-Employed Income Support Scheme.
If you have any questions about applying for a council discretionary fund please let us know and we’ll be happy to help.