Coronavirus discretionary business support grants

COVID-19 discretionary business support grant

Applications are closed

Applications for this grant closed at midday on Monday 29 June 2020.

We're publishing the original advice, below, for businesses whose applications are being processed.

Original advice

On Saturday 2 May 2020, government announced its intention to launch the Small Business Discretionary Grant Fund in addition to the Small Business Grant Fund and Retail, Hospitality and Leisure Grants Fund, which councils are responsible for delivering. Additional guidance on the government’s expectations for the scheme was received on 22 and 27 May.

Applications will be accepted for the Discretionary Grant Fund from Monday 8 June. The scheme offers support to businesses which are struggling to survive due to the coronavirus restrictions, but are unable to access other grant funding. Those working from home are not eligible for this scheme. To be eligible, you must have business premises on which you have fixed costs such as commercial rent/rates, a mortgage, or be a bed and breakfast paying Council Tax.

Eligibility criteria for all businesses

Businesses must have been trading on 11 March 2020 and will only be eligible if they meet all of the criteria below:

  • a small or micro business, as defined in Section 33 Part 2 of the Small Business, Enterprise and Employment Act 2015 and the Companies Act 2006
  • a business with relatively high, ongoing, fixed property-related costs
  • a business that can demonstrate a significant fall in income due to the COVID-19 crisis
  • a business which occupies property, or part of a property, with a rateable value or annual rent or annual mortgage payments below £51,000

This Discretionary Grant Fund will be administered through an application process with a closure date of midday on 22 June 2020. Once the application process has closed, we will then process bulk grant payments to all eligible businesses, and expect to make the payments by the end of June 2020.

Qualifying businesses

We have set out the following qualifying criteria for the award of the grants.

Government guidance says to prioritise the following types of businesses:

Shared spaces

This includes small businesses in shared offices or other flexible workspaces, units in industrial parks, science parks and incubators which do not have their own Business Rates assessment. Eligible businesses can receive up to £10,000

Regular market traders

Regular market traders with fixed building costs such as rent, who do not have their own Business Rates assessment but who wholly or mainly trade in Central Bedfordshire. Eligible businesses can receive up to £5,000.

Bed and breakfasts

Bed and breakfasts that pay Council Tax instead of Business Rates. Eligible businesses can receive up to £5,000.

Charity properties

Charity properties in receipt of charitable Business Rates Relief which would otherwise have been eligible for Small Business Rates Relief or Rural Rate Relief. Eligible charities can receive up to £10,000.

Other eligible businesses

Suppliers for the retail, hospitality and leisure sectors

Central Bedfordshire businesses which wholly or mainly (more than 51%) supply directly to the retail, hospitality and leisure industries with goods, products or services. Eligible businesses can receive up to £10,000.

Children’s nurseries

Central Bedfordshire nurseries providing early years support. Eligible nurseries can receive up to £10,000.

Non-eligible businesses

  • businesses which are eligible for the existing Retail, Hospitality and Leisure Grants and Small Business Grants
  • businesses which are eligible for The Fisheries Response Fund, Domestic Seafood Supply Scheme, The Zoos Support Fund and The Dairy Hardship Fund
  • companies that are in administration, are insolvent or where a striking-off notice has been made
  • mobile street vendors such as food vans
  • persons renting a chair e.g. barber, hairdresser, tattooist or other beauty treatments
  • homeworkers
  • private accommodation rentals similar to AirBnB

This list is not exhaustive, but businesses must be able to demonstrate relatively high ongoing fixed property-related costs to be eligible for a grant.

Application process

Please be prepared to include evidence to back up your claim such as lease agreements, bank statements to show property costs that have been paid as well as other fixed costs, and any relevant company registration numbers.

The deadline for applications is midday on 22 June 2020.

Once the application process has closed, we will assess each case against the criteria as outlined in the policy document. Please be aware that as there is a finite amount available for this fund, so we may pro rata payments to businesses if the fund is over-subscribed.

If you have any queries, please email businessrates@centralbedfordshire.gov.uk.