Local Authority Discretionary Grants Fund - What You Need to Know

Published: Tuesday, 21 July 2020

Applications have now closed.

Below is a summary of the Local Authority Discretionary Grants Fund. To read the full policy click here: OWBC Discretionary Business Grants Policy (PDF Document, 577.79 Kb)

Local Authority Discretionary Grants Fund - What you need to know

In response to the Coronavirus, on 11 March 2020 the Government announced support for small businesses, and businesses in the retail, hospitality and leisure sectors, delivered through the Small Business Grant Fund and the Retail, Leisure and Hospitality Grant Fund. This scheme still remains open. The scheme’s criteria was set at a national level.

On 1 May 2020, the Government announced the Local Authority Discretionary Grants Fund, and on 13 May 2020 published guidance for local authorities, with further guidance on 22 May 2020.

On 1 May 2020, the Government announced the Local Authority Discretionary Grants Fund.

https://www.gov.uk/government/news/top-up-to-local-business-grant-funds-scheme

On 13 May 2020, the Government published guidance for local authorities. This additional fund is aimed at small businesses and charities that were not eligible for the Small Business Grant Fund or the Retail, Leisure and Hospitality Fund.

https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/coronavirus-covid-19-guidance-on-business-support-grant-funding

The grant fund for the Oadby and Wigston Borough area is being managed by Oadby and Wigston Borough Council, which is responsible for delivering grants to eligible businesses and charities. The Council must follow the guidance set by the Government. The Council has authority to make these payments Section 1 of the Localism Act 2011.

Local authorities are required to set out the scope of their discretionary grant scheme on their website, providing clear guidance on which types of business are being prioritised, as well as the rationale for the level of grant to be provided (either £25,000, £10,000 or less than £10,000, as prescribed by the Government).

How to apply for the Local Authority Discretionary Grants Fund

Apply for your discretionary business grant. *Applications are now closed.*

Applications can be made from Monday 1st June to midnight on Sunday 14th June 2020.

For further information contact discretionarygrants@oadby-wigston.gov.uk

Potential applicants are asked to note that:

  • Grants under this scheme will be subject to tax in line with the applicant’s tax arrangements. For businesses, the Government advises this is only where there is an overall profit once this award is included.
  • Grants awarded under this discretionary scheme will not generally affect the Council’s business ratings list or any rates charges payable by the recipient.
  • Notwithstanding this, any applicant who should be in fact be added to the rates list will be, which may result in a rates bill. This may also result in a grant being claimable from the Small Business Grant Fund or the Retail, Leisure and Hospitality Grant Fund, rather than this discretionary fund. Such grants are of fixed value of £10,000 or £25,000 and are likely to be higher than a discretionary grant.

Who will benefit from the discretionary scheme?

As set out by the Government, these discretionary grants are primarily and predominantly aimed at:

• Small and micro businesses, as defined in Section 33 Part 2 of the Small Business, Enterprise and Employment Act 2015 and the Companies Act 2006. (see definitions table at the end of the section)

• Businesses with relatively high ongoing fixed property-related costs

• Businesses which can demonstrate that they have suffered a significant fall in income due to the COVID-19 crisis

• Businesses which occupy property, or part of a property, with a rateable value or annual rent or annual mortgage payments below £51,000.

National priorities

Nationally the Government has requested the following 4 areas be given priority for consideration when looking into the distribution of these grants:

1) 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 individual business rates assessment and rates bill.

2) Regular market traders with fixed building costs, such as rent, who do not have their own business rates assessment. Note: Oadby and Wigston Borough Council considers this to mean traders with fixed units (including café facilities) and traders in the cattle market as there is a need to demonstrate fixed property costs to be eligible for consideration in this grant.

  • The Council will take account of any potential grant support from councils in other areas where the trader may also operate.
  • The discretionary fund does not cover any otherwise eligible traders who rent stalls by the day as it is not viewed there will be significant or on-going fixed property related costs.

3) Bed & Breakfasts which pay Council Tax instead of business rates (rated premises being eligible under the Small Business Grant Fund and the Retail, Leisure and Hospitality Grant Fund). The Council does not wish to prioritise rooms and premises available through Airbnb and similar channels, and will not make a grant to these;

4) Charity properties in receipt of charitable business rates relief which would otherwise have been eligible for Small Business Rates Relief. [or Rural Rate Relief – for the districts only] Note, in essence this is charitable premises with a rateable value of below £15,000, which are not eligible for the Retail, Leisure and Hospitality Grant Fund.

In addition, taking into account local priorities and issues that have arisen during the implementation of the business grant scheme, the Council wishes to support a range of other businesses and charities.

To apply for a grant, businesses and charities will have relatively high on-going fixed property costs and be able demonstrate that they have suffered a significant fall in income due to the COVID-19 crisis. The Council considers ‘significant’ to mean an income reduction of at least 40% month on month due to the Coronavirus.

The businesses the Council wish to support at local level, in addition to the national priorities, are:

• Small and micro businesses which do not serve visiting members of the public directly as required to be eligible for a Retail, Leisure and Hospitality Fund grant; or where the rateable value exceeds the £51,000 threshold. This support will be on the basis of premises and other unavoidable non-employment costs.

• Small and micro businesses providing venues available for hire by groups and individuals, and/or hosting events open to individuals, and which do not meet the Retail, Hospitality and Leisure Grant Fund criteria to serve visiting members of the public directly; or where the rateable value exceeds the £51,000 threshold. This support will be on the basis of premises and other unavoidable non-employment costs.

• Childcare providers (nurseries) which are eligible for the Nursery [business rates] Discount 2020/21 but which are not eligible for a Small Business Grant – generally where the premises are over the £15,000 rateable value threshold, or the businesses have multiple premises. This support will be on the basis of premises and other unavoidable non-employment costs.

• Businesses with rateable values larger that £15,000 but which are outside of the Retail, Leisure and Hospitality sectors. These could be workshops, engineering units or offices.

• Businesses with rateable values marginally over £51,000 but who are in all other ways small businesses.

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