06/05/2020

COVID-19 Discretionary Grant Fund

As you will have seen from Monday’s COVID-19 bulletin, a new Discretionary Grant Fund has been launched to help some of the businesses which have been excluded from the existing grants schemes because the way they interact with the current business rates system means they are not eligible for the grant schemes.

Government has allocated additional funding to Local Authorities in England in the form of a discretionary grant fund of up to £617m. This will be divided between English Local Authorities in proportion to the amount they will pay out under the existing grant schemes. Grants are capped at £25,000. The next ‘tier’ is £10,000. Local Authorities have discretion to make payments of any amount under £10,000. Devolved Administrations will receive additional funding as a result of this announcement through the Barnett formula in the usual way, with up to £116m of additional Barnett Consequentials.

Eligibility:
The grants are aimed at businesses which meet the following criteria:

  • They face ongoing fixed building-related costs
  • They can demonstrate that they are facing a significant fall in income due to the Covid-19 crisis
  • They have fewer than 50 employees
  • They were trading on or before 11 March

Local Authorities are responsible for defining precise eligibility for this fund. However, it is Government’s intention that the following businesses should be considered as a priority for these funds:

  • Businesses in shared offices;
  • Regular market traders who do not have their own business rates assessment;

Access to grants:
Local Authorities will ask businesses to apply for a grant. Local Authorities will need to set up an entirely new system in order to make payments to businesses which don’t have their own ratings assessments. This will likely take some time, but Government is encouraging Local Authorities to do this as quickly as possible.

We will send you additional information as soon as we can.

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