As we have written previously the Department for Business. Energy and Industrial Strategy (BEIS) has issued guidance on the Local Authority Discretionary Fund, however each local authority has discretion on how to administer its share of the total pot of £617m.
Late last week we saw some more local authorities begin to release details of how they will administer their allocations. I noted when I was collating material for this blog that a number of the local authorities have short windows that the scheme is open for applications and/ or appear to be on a first come first served basis (i.e. this pot of funds is only £617m across all the local authorities).
Local authorities – current information
Below we summarise the details we can see for local authorities where we have offices which we hope is of direct use to businesses based in those area.
|Local authority||Contact details/ Application|
|Torbay Council||Online application form|
|Somerset West and Taunton Council||Opened for applications on 1 June 2020. More details at link and then use drop down menu for “NEW Discretionary Business Grant”|
|Cornwall Council||Online application form for those businesses that fall within one of the categories detailed on the website|
Online expression of interest if your business does not fall into one of these categories, and you are unable to access any other form of government funding
|Plymouth City Council (and InvestPlymouth)||Applications now open. Link to online application form more details here.|
|Exeter City Council||[no details on the scheme as yet]|
|Christchurch and Poole Council||Applications now open and must be received by 9am on 15 June. More details and link to on line application form at link|
|Wiltshire Council||[aim to be in a position where they can advise businesses on eligibility and how they can apply for this new funding in the coming weeks]|
|Bristol City Council||Applications opened 27 May and close midnight on 8 June 2020. More details at link.|
We will look to update the above as and when more of the above local authorities issue information.
Others local authority websites can be found via the search tool and we suspect that most have business support pages or coronavirus – they should feature ‘Business Grant Funding’ / ‘Business support – grants’ or similar. In three clicks I got from the search tool to the relevant section of the website.
In addition I saw on social media that the Federation of Small Business (FSB) in Cornwall are hosting a webinar “Business Rates and Discretionary Grants Explained. Speaker: Ian Stephens – Head of Assessment, Billing & Collection, Cornwall Council.” I anticipate that I will be signing up to this and I will be asking colleagues from other offices to have a look for similar briefings in other areas of the country.
Example of Local Authority Discretionary Fund – Torbay Council
Torbay Council are accepting applications from:
- 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 and 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
- Businesses operating in the visitor economy (i.e. tourism and hospitality) and the supply chain of this industry that did not qualify for the previous grant schemes that have a rateable value under £100,000
Five levels of grant award.
Before you start an application you will need to be able to evidence that:
- Your business has suffered a significant fall in income due to the COVID-19 crisis – provide bank statements from 1 March 2020 to 30 April 2020.
- Your business has relatively high ongoing fixed property related costs – provide proof of your lease/mortgage/rent
- Your business was trading on 11 March 2020 – provide bank statements
Applications will be prioritised based on the relative fall in income, ongoing fixed property-related costs and number of employees the business has. If phase one is oversubscribed, awards to businesses will be prioritised based on their relative levels of ongoing fixed property-related costs, the number of employees and relevance to the Local Economy.
The highest priority businesses will start being paid from 1 June.
They will be accepting applications until 7 June and aim to start paying the next level of priority businesses week commencing 8 June.
How PKF Francis Clark can help
As always we will update this blog with more information as and when we get it. If you have any questions then please do not hesitate to get in touch.