Local Authority Discretionary Grant
Over the course of the pandemic the UK government has introduced various schemes each with the aim of supporting various sectors of the UK economy and society. Much of the support has been by way of grants, such as the small business grant, the Retail, Hospitality and Leisure Grant and the furlough scheme. However despite these, some businesses have found themselves falling through the gaps between these schemes and have not qualified for all the available help.
To address this to some extent the government has now introduced the Local Authority Discretionary Grant Fund (LADGF). This is a limited pot of money to be administered by local authorities to support businesses who have not been able to secure support from the previously launched grant schemes.
Central government have provided local authorities with a guide as to how they should determine eligibility and how the grant should be administered. They have stated that the grant should be 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.
- 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.
The grant will be provided to eligible business in one of three tiers.
- A fixed £25,000 grant. or;
- A Fixed £10,000 grant. or;
- A Grant of any amount under £10,000.
The value of the payment to be made to a business is at the discretion of the local authority.
Whilst central government have acknowledged that local authorities should exercise their local knowledge and discretion to determine which cases to support, they have also provided local authorities with guidance as to which business they should prioritise when deciding eligibility, being:
- 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 & Breakfasts which pay Council Tax instead of business rates; and
- Charity properties in receipt of charitable business rates relief which would otherwise have been eligible for Small Business Rates Relief or Rural Rate Relief.
There is an exclusion from the Local Authority Discretionary Grant however, any business that has already accessed cash grants from any central government Covid-19 related scheme (except for the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme) will not be eligible. So if you have already received a grant from either the Self Employment Income Support Scheme, Small Business Grant Fund or the Retail, Hospitality and Leisure Grant then you will not be eligible. Additionally, you must have been trading on 11 March 2020 to qualify.
The roll out of the grant has, by its nature, been fragmented as each local authority designs its own scheme, for example in Leeds the scheme has been open to applications since 1 June and will run until 28 June for applications via their website, whereas Calderdale council have launched their scheme today at the time of writing, 5 June, and will close to applications at 5pm on 26 June. We would suggest checking your local authority website for the details of the scheme in your area, or of course get in touch with Keiran Taylor at BPR Heaton for further guidance.