COVID-19Small to Medium Businesses

Local Authority Discretionary Grants For Small Businesses

By May 18, 2020 No Comments

If your business was not eligible for the Small Business Grant Fund or the Retail or the Leisure and Hospitality Fund, but your business has been significantly affected by the lockdown, then you may be eligible for a Local Authority Discretionary Grant.

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What Is The Local Authority Discretionary Grant?

As the name implies, these grants are entirely at the discretion of your local authority. Your business will also need to meet these specific criteria:

  • Small and micro businesses, as defined in Section 33 Part 2 of the Small Business, Enterprise and Employment Act 2015 and the Companies Act 2006. 
  • 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 support available comes in the following forms:

  • A maximum grant of £25,000
  • Second highest grant amount is £10,000
  • Grants below £10,000 can consist of any figure as deemed appropriate by the local authority

Local authorities have been asked to prioritise the following business types:

  • 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
  • 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
  • Charity properties in receipt of charitable business rates relief which would otherwise have been eligible for Small Business Rates Relief or Rural Rate Relief.

Businesses who have applied for and/or are using the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme and/or a business loan may still be eligible for the Local Authority Discretionary Grant should they meet all the above criteria.

As with most grants, this grant is subject to tax – however only businesses which make an overall profit once the grant income is included will be subject to tax.

Full details of this grant can be found on the government’s website.

 

How Does My Business Apply For The Local Authority Discretionary Grant?

You’ll need to contact your local council authority to see what process they have put in place to handle application and assessment for this grant. Find your local council.

Some local councils have updated their websites in the last few days, we’ve checked the statements on Stockport Council’s and Manchester Council’s websites who are still to issue an update, though Stockport have issued the following statement:

“Following the Government announcement on 01/05/20 about a top up grant for businesses that are not eligible for other grants, the guidance to local authorities was released to the Council on 13/05/2020. We are now preparing a local scheme which will be available shortly.

The guidance from Government indicates that these grants are primarily and predominantly aimed at: 

  • Small and micro businesses, as defined in Section 33 Part 2 of the Small Business, Enterprise and Employment Act 2015 and the Companies Act 2006. 
  • 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 Council is aiming to publish eligibility criteria and guidance on making applications for the discretionary grant, including the evidence required in support of applications, on its website by 5pm on Monday 18/05/2020.

The information published on Monday will set out the criteria for which priority businesses are eligible to apply, the application process and the date from which applications can be made.”

We’re expecting more information on this grant this week, and it has been implied that these grants will be paid to businesses early in June. Please follow us on social media for the latest updates, and check back on your local council’s website throughout the week for more information on how your business can apply for this assistance.

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