Discretionary business grants scheme opens in South Lakeland
1 June 2020
Businesses in South Lakeland can now apply to the government's Discretionary Grants Fund.
The scheme, administered by South Lakeland District Council (SLDC), opened to applications at 12 noon today.
It is aimed at supporting some of the small businesses who were not eligible for the Small Business Grant Fund or the Retail, Leisure and Hospitality Fund. It will prioritise small and micro businesses with fixed property-related costs which can demonstrate that they have suffered a significant fall in income due to the COVID-19 crisis.
SLDC has £3.75m to distribute and grants from £2,500 up to £10,000 will be available.
Councillor Robin Ashcroft, Portfolio Holder for the Economy, Culture and Leisure, said: "We have worked hard to ensure that this scheme could be open for applications as soon as possible.
"There is national criteria which we have to follow but in determining the discretionary element we have tried to balance the amount of money we have to distribute with the number of businesses we can support through this scheme.
"We are not issuing money on a first-come first-served basis to ensure grants are delivered on the basis of need. There will likely be a great demand for these grants but we promise to be as fair as we possibly can in making sure this money gets to those most in need."
The online application form can be found here: https://www.southlakeland.gov.uk/business-and-trade/coronavirus-covid-19-business-support-grants/, along with details of the eligibility criteria.
For businesses who do not have access to the internet, SLDC staff will be able to assist by taking information over the phone to complete the form.
There will be a 14-day window for applications, after which they will be reviewed, with an aim for a decision within 10 working days.
Local authorities are being asked to prioritise the following types of businesses for grants from within this funding pot:
- 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; 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.
This grant funding is for businesses that are not eligible for other support schemes.
Businesses which have received cash grants from any central government COVID-related scheme are ineligible for funding from the Discretionary Grants Fund. Such grant schemes include but are not limited to:
- Small Business Grant Fund;
- Retail, Hospitality and Leisure Grant;
- The Fisheries Response Fund;
- Domestic Seafood Supply Scheme (DSSS);
- The Zoos Support Fund;
- The Dairy Hardship Fund.
Through its knowledge of the local economy, SLDC has decided the discretionary element of the scheme will include:
- Small manufacturing businesses with an RV of under £51,000 and not eligible for Small Business Rate Relief or Expanded Retail Discount Relief;
- Local wholesalers and supply chain/services businesses whereby the majority of their business relates to the hospitality or leisure sector, with a Rateable Value of under £51,000;
- Businesses that do not fall into the above categories but in the view of the council can demonstrate exceptional hardship relating to ongoing fixed property related costs. This category will only be considered if there are adequate remaining funds once the other categories have been assessed
Only businesses which were trading on 11 March 2020 will be eligible and companies that are in administration, are insolvent or where a striking-off notice has been made will not be eligible.
Businesses who have applied for the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme are eligible to apply for this scheme.