One week left until business support grant deadline

21 August 2020

Business owners in South Lakeland have one week left to apply for government grants, if they have not already done so.

Nearly £60 million has so far been distributed by South Lakeland District Council (SLDC), under the 'Small Business' and 'Retail, Hospitality and Leisure' support grants scheme to more than 5,000 local businesses.

But the council estimates there are still many businesses in the district that are eligible to apply for the £10k and £25k grants that have yet to come forward, and the government has announced that applications will close at midnight on 28 August 2020.

Councillor Robin Ashcroft, SLDC’s portfolio holder for Economy, Culture and Leisure, said: "There are still businesses out there eligible for these government grants. If anybody thinks they know someone who could apply, please let them know. Any business owner who thinks there is even a small chance that they could be eligible and has yet to apply can check online about eligibility criteria and to access the application form.

“Even if you are registered for business rates but don’t pay anything because you receive rates relief you could still be eligible. In that case you will still get a business rates bill with a nil demand, but you will have a business rates reference number, which is what you’ll need to apply."

Businesses registered for business rates who don’t pay anything because they get certain rate relief are still entitled to access these grants, which do not need to be paid back.

SLDC launched its application process for the government Small Business and Retail, Hospitality and Leisure support grants on 27 March and invited eligible businesses to complete an online form.

Covid-19 Business Grants: find more information and an application form.

Businesses that fall under one of the following categories and believe they are eligible for the funding are being invited to complete the form:

  • Small business rate relief recipient
  • Rural rate relief recipient
  • Expanded retail discount scheme recipient

Please note that completing this form does not mean a business is eligible for the grants available, but it will allow the council to check details against its rating list and make a determination of eligibility against the criteria laid out by government.

Those eligible should receive the payment within 10 working days from receipt of a valid application.

Any businesses that apply but are not eligible will be sent an email setting out why they do not meet the criteria set out by government and will be signposted to other support they may be eligible for. We strongly urge businesses to check their eligibility on the government website prior to applying.

Other support streams are available to businesses, including the Self Employment Income Support Scheme (SEISS), which has just reopened for a second round through HMRC. Businesses are encouraged to check GOV.UK to ascertain what forms of support are available to them.

Small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) can now apply for new grants through Cumbria Chamber of Commerce's Growth Hub, one for specifically for tourism businesses and the other open to all sectors.

Businesses can apply for grants from £1,000 to £5,000 to cover the cost of buying-in specialist advice to address their immediate needs in response to Covid 19. They must be able to demonstrate a 40 per cent loss of income, caused by the pandemic, between March and June compared with the same period in 2019.

Cumbria Growth Hub: New grants to help smaller businesses recover from the pandemic


  • Applying businesses will need to provide the reference number from a business rates bill to complete the grant application.

Please ensure you have your reference number to hand. If you are the registered rates payer you will receive a business rates bill, even if you are zero-rated for rates. The reference number will appear on any of your rates bills, you do not need your most recent bill.

This is an important security measure to protect the applicant against the risk of fraud and to ensure that SLDC can validate the recipient’s identity and entitlement to the grant.

For security reasons SLDC will not be able to give this information out over the phone, but can issue a duplicate bill to your registered business address if required. 

  • The £10k and £25k grant schemes are separate to the business rates relief schemes also announced by government.

These business rates reliefs apply to eligible retail, leisure and hospitality businesses (including those that closed temporarily due to the Government advice on Coronavirus) and 100 per cent rate relief is available for a period of 12 months.

SLDC will apply this relief automatically to business rates bills for 2020/21 and businesses do not need to apply for this. New bills with applied relief have been issued.