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Discretionary Grants issued by Local Authorities – some help for those businesses who have fallen through the net?

As mentioned in our blog on Local Authority administered grants schemes operating in National Lockdown 3, all Local Authorities have a pot of funds to administer at their discretion.

Cornwall Council has highlighted that “businesses who have not previous received any COVID-19 support” may be eligible for this grant (there are caveats) – and it may be that other Councils are doing the same.

Therefore, we would strongly advise that even if you have found your business excluded from various other schemes (specifically the Local Restrictions Support Grants) you check out the relevant Local Authority website(s) to read who they are targeting with their discretionary grants (also referred to, confusingly, as Additional Restrictions Grants).

Cornwall Council’s discretionary grant (referred to as 2nd Round of the Additional Restrictions Grant)

Here is an example of how Cornwall has chosen to utilise the discretionary element of the business support grants issued to them by UK Government.

Total budget £11.5m (including b/fwd from previous round)
Objectives 1.     to make sure that there are no businesses in Cornwall that have been unable to access Covid-19 support

2.     to support businesses within Cornwall who cannot access the Local Restrictions Support Grant (Closed) through the third national lockdown

Purpose The purpose of the grant scheme is to support businesses that are impacted severely by Covid19 restrictions and have fixed ongoing costs during the period 5 January – 15 February when these businesses cannot trade or are very limited in trading. We wish to support our local businesses through the lockdown and to put them in the best position to reopen and recover once restrictions are lifted.
Priorities for business grants We will target the grants to those who need it the most in order to support our local businesses through the lockdown and to put them in the best position to reopen and recover once restrictions are lifted.  Categories:

1.     Businesses who have not previous received any COVID-19 support (Grants of up to £10,000);

2.     Those businesses who have been mandated shut, but who are not on the business rate register (Grants of up to £6,000)

3.     Businesses with a rateable value of £51,000 or above who were eligible for the ARG when it was available in November 2020, but who missed out due to a short application window (Grants of up to £25,000)

4.     Those businesses who are severely impacted3 by the third national lockdown, but who cannot access the Local Restrictions Support Grant (Closed) scheme because they have not been mandated to shut (Grants dependent on rateable value)

Allocation Grant rates set for categories 1-4 are maximum grant rates and will depend on there being sufficient budget available to fund all. If demand for grants exceeds the available budget Cornwall Council will divide available fund out among eligible applicants and consequently grant rates will be lower than the maximum set above.
More details https://www.cornwall.gov.uk/media/45706378/additional-restrictions-grant-policy.pdf

Please note – in order to be eligible you need to be both living in Cornwall and your business must be based in Cornwall.

Next steps

Please note that very often these schemes have very short application windows, so make sure that you are signed up to receive any notifications from your Local Authority.

For those of you in Cornwall – this scheme closes to new applications on 31 January 2021 (link here to apply).

FEATURING: Richard Wadman
Richard qualified as a Chartered Accountant with KPMG in 1993. Since 2006 he has worked in Corporate Finance, firstly with the predecessor firm in Truro… read more
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