Covid-19 Discretionary Grant Scheme for Businesses

On Friday 1 May the Government announced a Discretionary Grant for certain small businesses not eligible for either of the previous business grants:

Small and micro businesses within the Wealden District are now able to submit their details to apply for a grant from the Discretionary ‘top-up’ Grant (phase two). Please read the policy and check the eligibility criteria before applying.

The deadline to receive phase two applications has been extended to 5pm on Friday 28 August 2020 OR until all discretionary grant funding has been spent – whichever is sooner.  Please note that the Council’s local discretion priorities, differ from those of the phase one scheme.

The Government have asked that we prioritise businesses with fixed property-related costs which can demonstrate that they have suffered a significant fall in income due to the COVID-19 pandemic:

  • Small businesses in shared offices or other flexible work spaces. 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.

The Wealden Discretionary Business Grant Scheme Policy (phase two) gives detailed information and definitions of the Government priorities.

Before making an application, please ensure that you have read the criteria and definitions detailed within the scheme policy. Please also see the Government’s national exclusions below.

Note that businesses which occupy property, or part of a property, with a rateable value or annual rent, or annual mortgage payments above £51,000 are not eligible for the Discretionary Grant Scheme’s National Priorities, however you may be eligible for the Local Scheme.

Applications for the Discretionary Grant Scheme will close at 5pm on Friday 28 August 2020 OR when discretionary grant funding has been spent – whichever is sooner.  

Please ensure that your application is complete when submitted, and that you have received confirmation of the submission prior to the deadline. Applications received after this time will not be considered. 

Local discretion

In addition to the national fund priorities, the Council has decided that it will accept applications from local businesses who meet the criteria below. Although it should be noted that as the grant fund is limited, the Council will look to award funding to businesses who meet the national priorities first.

The Council has decided that the following businesses are a local priority:

Small/micro business that were listed with the Valuation Office Agency for Business Rates on or before 11 March 2020 and have;

  • a rateable value of below 51,000
  • a rateable value of between 51,001 and 100,000 AND are in receipt of Retail Relief (please see your business rates bill for confirmation)

All businesses applying under the National and Local schemes must have fixed property costs, such as a commercial mortgage, rent and/or service charges of at least £250.00 per month (with the exception of B&B’s and Market Traders). Utilities and residential mortgages will not be considered as a fixed property cost for this scheme (with the exception of B&B’s). Business that do not meet this criteria are not eligible and will not be considered.

As well as having fixed costs, all business must be able to demonstrate a significant fall in income due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Applications for the Local Priorities scheme will only be reviewed, assessed and awarded if there is a surplus in funds after awarding grants to the national priorities.

Exclusions

There are a number of exclusions that apply to both the National and Local schemes:

  • Businesses that trade/operate from a residential address
  • Business that were rated for Business Rates after the 11 March 2020 and were not known to the authority prior to that date (even if liability has been backdated)
  • If you have received any form of funding from Wealden

Directors, proprietors, sole traders and partners (or similar) are only eligible to apply for one grant from any of the schemes and will not be considered for multiple grants for multiple businesses.

The following types of businesses/premises are excluded from the local schemes;

  • Show homes
  • Car parking
  • Storage containers
  • Storage premises
  • Yards, land or properties used for storage only
  • Containers
  • Advertising or advertising stations or hoardings
  • Communication stations or telecommunication equipment
  • Solar panel sites
  • ATM’s, cash machines or equivalent
  • Schools / Academies / Educational establishments and premises
  • Lockers
  • Beach huts
  • Properties used for personal use
  • Any business who has previously received funding from Wealden District Council

Award amounts

Category

Maximum Grant Amount

Criteria

At least £250 in rent or flexible licence fee per calendar month.

£2,500

Rent / mtg costs / service charges

RV or property costs up to £15K per annum

£5,000

Rent / mtg costs / service charges

RV or property costs between £15,001 and £100,000 per annum

£10,000

Rent / mtg costs / service charges

Market Traders  

£2,500

Rent / loss

B&B’s  

£5,000

Rent / loss / mtg cost

The Council reserves the right to vary the award amounts, subject to the volume of applications. Where there are surplus funds available, the Council may consider increasing amounts awarded or consider further applications.

Application Process

When applying for a Discretionary Grant you will be asked to provide documents supporting the following information;

  • Trading accounts for 2018/19 and 2019/20, if available
  • Rental/tenancy/mortgage agreement
  • Agreement relating to service charges (if applicable)
  • Three months of full bank statements for all accounts used by your business, including savings and investments
  • Proof that rent/mortgage/service charge payments have been made
  • Proof of trading from the business premises on 11 March 2020.
  • How much do you predict to have lost/actually lost as a result of Covid-19
  • Profit and loss figures since March – May 2020

Failure to provide the information required will lead to the application being declined/cancelled.

The Council may ask for further information when assessing your application.

You can save and return to the application at any time prior to the deadline.

During the application process you may receive notifications from the assessing panel – these will come from ‘Ascendant Solutions’ who operate the application portal on our behalf.

Apply for a discretionary business grant