The Government has announced a discretionary fund has been set up to accommodate certain small businesses previously outside the scope of the business grant funds scheme.

The Business Secretary Alok Sharma and Minister for Regional Growth and Local Government, Simon Clarke spoke to local authorities in England to set out that up to £617 million would be made available.

This is an additional 5% uplift to the £12.33 billion funding previously announced for the Small Business Grants Fund (SBGF) and the Retail, Hospitality and Leisure Grants Fund (RHLGF), so up to £617 million. The Government will confirm this week (week commencing 4th May) the exact amount for each local authority.

This additional discretionary fund is aimed at small businesses with ongoing fixed property-related costs. The Government are asking local authorities to prioritise:

  • businesses in shared spaces e.g. industrial parks, science parks, incubators etc, which do not have their own business rates assessment
  • regular market traders
  • small charity properties that would meet the criteria for Small Business Rates Relief
  • and bed and breakfasts that pay council tax rather than business rates.

But local authorities may choose to make payments to other businesses based on local economic need. The allocation of funding will be at the discretion of local authorities.

Eligibility for the discretionary funding:

  • businesses must be small
  • under 50 employees
  • and they must also be able to demonstrate that they have seen a significant drop of income due to Coronavirus restriction measures.
  • Businesses that were trading on or before 11th March.

There will be three levels of grant payments. The maximum will be £25,000. There will also be grants of £10,000. Local authorities will have discretion to make payments of any amount under £10,000. It will be for councils to adapt this approach to local circumstances. Businesses which are eligible for the existing grant schemes or Self-employed Income Support Scheme are ineligible.

If you think that you may be eligible you are encouraged to speak to your local authority to ensure that your application is re-looked at.

Finally, if you have any questions or need more information please don’t hesitate to contact us.