Top-up to local business grant funds scheme
A discretionary fund has been set up to accommodate certain small businesses previously outside the scope of the business grant funds scheme.
The government has set up a discretionary fund worth up to £617 million, aimed at small businesses with ongoing fixed property-related costs.
This is an additional 5 per cent uplift to the £12.33 billion funding previously announced for the Small Business Grants Fund (SBGF) and the Retail, Hospitality and Leisure Grants Fund (RHLGF).
According to the government, the grants will be handled by local authorities, which have been asked to prioritise businesses in shared spaces, regular market traders, small charity properties that would meet the criteria for Small Business Rates Relief, and bed and breakfasts that pay council tax rather than business rates.
It, however, confirmed that local authorities will have the discretion to handle the allocations, meaning they may choose to make payments to other businesses based on local economic need.
Businesses must, however, be small, under 50 employees, and must also be able to demonstrate that they have seen a significant drop of income due to coronavirus restriction measures.
The government explained there will be three levels of grant payments, with the maximum to reach £25,000. There will also be grants of £10,000, with local authorities able to make payments of any amount under £10,000.
Further guidance for local authorities will be set out shortly.
As of 27 April, over £7.5 billion has been paid out to over 614,000 business properties via the SBGF and RHLGF schemes.