Hundreds receive discretionary business grants this week
9 July 2020
Hundreds of South Lakeland businesses and charities have received much-needed cash boosts this week after successful applications to the government's Discretionary Grants Fund.
South Lakeland District Council (SLDC) has approved 495 grants of either £10,000, £8,000 or £6,000, representing grants worth a total of just under £3.5m. There were 578 applications.
The scheme was aimed at supporting small businesses who were not eligible for the Small Business Grant Fund or the Retail, Leisure and Hospitality Fund, prioritising small and micro businesses with fixed property-related costs who were able to demonstrate that they had suffered a significant fall in income due to the COVID-19 crisis.
Councillor Robin Ashcroft, Portfolio Holder for the Economy, Culture and Leisure, said: "Our validations team worked extremely hard to process every application received in a very short space of time and we are happy that these grants are now hitting businesses' bank accounts providing much-needed financial relief in these very difficult times.
"South Lakeland District Council has been proud to play a part in getting these grants, and money from other schemes, where it is needed. Added to that, members and officers are doing all they can to support businesses, including working with partners on the reopening of town centres in a safe way or through our newly-established economic recovery and renewal group."
"Decisions on grants were made based on fixed business property costs, loss of turnover, and employee numbers, along with supporting evidence, and we have endeavoured to make sure this money gets to those who need it most. Securing our economic future in the wake of the global pandemic is a mammoth task, but we at SLDC are determined to do everything in our power to make a difference."
Local authorities were asked to prioritise the following types of businesses for grants from within this funding pot:
- Small businesses in shared offices or other flexible workspaces, including 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.
Through its knowledge of the local economy, SLDC decided the discretionary element of the scheme would also include:
- Small manufacturing businesses with a rateable value 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 an RV 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
As of 8 July, 495 applications have been approved with £3.492m being paid. 71 applications were rejected, mostly because this grant funding was for businesses not eligible for other support schemes, and 12 are still awaiting to be processed as more supporting information was requested from the applicants.
South Lakeland District Council funding supports Cumbria Chamber of Commerce's Growth Hub and Business Start-up Support (BSUS), which deliver expert support and advice available to them locally: Businesses urged to call on expert help.