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South Lakeland scheme for discretionary business grants to open soon

15 May 2020

South Lakeland District Council (SLDC) has told businesses intending to apply for the government's Discretionary Grants Fund it is working hard to open the scheme for applications as soon as possible.

After the government announced the scheme on May 1, SLDC received guidance on Wednesday night on how the scheme should work.

SLDC officers are now working hard to interpret the guidance, agree a policy and set up the application scheme.

The discretionary scheme 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. 

Councillor Robin Ashcroft, Portfolio Holder for the Economy and Culture, said: "We are acutely aware of the need for this grant scheme and now we have the guidance from government we will get it up and running as soon as we possibly can.

"Please bear with us while we agree a policy, set the criteria and set up an application process which is easy to understand, but is also efficient and effective and has the necessary safeguards in place.

 “We anticipate that demand for these grants will outstrip the amount we have been given to allocate but we promise to distribute this money fairly and as swiftly as humanly possible.

"We are proud of the many and varied businesses operating in South Lakeland and are committed, as always, to doing whatever we can to help them.”

The government guidance says: "This grant scheme widens access to support to businesses who are struggling to survive due to the Corona virus shutdown but are unable to access other grant funding. Local authorities should make payments as quickly as possible to support struggling businesses. We anticipate that the first payments made under the scheme will be received by businesses by early June." 

Grants of £25,000, £10,000 or any amount under £10,000 will be available. The value of the payment to be made to a business is at the discretion of the local authority.

Notes

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.

Local authorities can also determine if particular situations not listed but broadly similar to the above list could be eligible.

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:

  • Self Employment Income Support Scheme;
  • 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.

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.

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