On 2nd May the Business Secretary Alok Sharma announced that a portion of £617m in discretionary grant funds would be made available to local authorities to fund businesses that fell through the gaps of qualification for other grants.
Local authorities were asked to prioritise businesses in shared spaces, regular market traders, small charity properties that didn’t qualify for the Small Business Rates Grant, and B&B’s.
Discretionary grant funds in Somerset can be made of £25,000, £10,000, or any amount up to £10,000.
On 13th May more details were provided to local authorities, which encouraged them to take into account number of employees, ability to carry on their work online and the scale of the impact of Covid-19, all of which makes the scheme ideally placed for charities.
Each local authority is dealing with it differently so as at the time of writing (20th May), a brief summary of where we are is:
Sedgemoor – https://www.sedgemoor.gov.uk/COVID19Biz
The website says that they are developing an application process for accessing the discretionary grant funds and to monitor their Covid-19 webpage for further information.
The webpage is currently undated but says that the they are expecting criteria “in the next week”. They have said that they will place further information on the website once available and will contact businesses, although I would be more inclined to review the website rather than wait for an offer!
Somerset West & Taunton – https://www.somersetwestandtaunton.gov.uk/business-rates/business-grants-covid-19-response/
They are expecting to receive more detailed information this week (w/c 18th May), and will then create an application process and promote availability. They are anticipating being able to start inviting applications towards the end of May.
The webpage was updated on 19th May to say that they will be publishing their full criteria “shortly”. Once they have sufficient information, the funding will be allocated on a first come, first served basis in line with that criteria. They have said that they will be opening applications on Tuesday 26th May and businesses and charities can get prepared by having an account with the local authority set up, and evidence such as bank statements available.
I think it’s fair to assume at the moment that funds could start to be available next week but it is becoming clear that there is a significant demand for these grants so I would encourage charities to be reviewing the webpages regularly and having information that may be needed available, such as bank statements.
It’s important to note that the discretionary grant funds in Somerset cannot be provided to businesses or charities that are receiving other relief under Covid-19 schemes including the Small Business Grant Fund, Retail, Hospitality and Leisure Grant and Self Employment Income Support Scheme.