Government tops up business grant funding to support SMEs that don’t qualify for the small business or rural rates relief.

If your business employs less than 50 people and has seen a significant drop in income due to Coronavirus restriction measures but did not qualify for the Small Business Grant Fund or the Retail, Hospitality & Leisure Grant Fund, help may be available from your Local Authority on a discretionary basis.

Alok Sharma announced on 2 May that the local business grant funds scheme would receive a top up of 5% – amounting to £617m – as a discretionary amount to accommodate certain small businesses previously outside the scope of the Small Business Grant and Retail, Hospitality and Leisure Grant fund schemes. Distributed by the government to Local Authorities, it is intended to help businesses with ongoing fixed property related costs.

Local Authorities are being asked to prioritise

  • businesses in shared spaces
  • regular market traders
  • small charity properties that would meet the criteria for Small Business Rates Relief
  • Bed and Breakfasts that pay council tax rather than business rates
  • Local Authorities may choose to make payments to other businesses based on local economic need at their discretion

There are three levels of grant payments, up to a maximum if £25,000. The government wants Local Authorities to use their discretion and adapt the approach to local circumstances.

Wayne Thomas, partner at Bates Weston comments:

“This local authority administered discretionary fund will allow our authorities the flexibility to respond to local economic need. It will help the smaller businesses who may have fallen through the cracks in the existing government support schemes. We expect more details of the scheme to be given to Local Authorities this week.”

Further information:

Government Press Release on Top Up to Grant Funding

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