Successful discretionary grants fund applicants to be notified this week
South Lakeland businesses and charities will this week hear if they have been successful in their applications to the government's Discretionary Grants Fund.
South Lakeland District Council (SLDC) was given £3.75m to distribute, with grants of £10,000, £8,000 or £6,000 now approved after a two-week application window which closed on June 15. The scheme was oversubscribed, with 574 applications.
Four hundred and seventy-four applications have been approved so far representing grants worth a total of £3.3m.
The scheme was 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, prioritising 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, Culture and Leisure, said: "We received far more applications than anticipated but our validation team has worked extremely hard to distribute grant funds fairly across the district. This money will make a huge difference within the South Lakeland business community
"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.
"Successful applicants will be notified in the next few days and payments will follow shortly after. We thank everybody for their patience while we assessed and validated the applications.”
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. 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
- 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 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.
Four hundred and seventy-four applications have been approved so far. Sixty-eight were were rejected, mostly because this grant funding was for businesses not eligible for other support schemes, and a small number are still being processed as more information was required from the applicants. In 32 cases, SLDC is waiting for additional information from the applicant.
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 provides more details.