The Government has now announced a discretionary fund has been set up to accommodate certain small businesses in England previously outside the scope of the business grant funds scheme.
This additional fund is aimed at small businesses with ongoing fixed property-related costs. Local authorities are being 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. But local authorities may choose to make payments to other businesses based on local economic need. The allocation of funding will be at the discretion of local authorities.
Businesses must be small, fewer than 50 employees, and they must also be able to demonstrate that they have seen a significant drop of income due to Coronavirus restriction measures.
There will be three levels of grant payments. The maximum will be £25,000. There will also be grants of £10,000. Local authorities will have discretion to make payments of any amount under £10,000. It will be for councils to adapt this approach to local circumstances and further guidance for local authorities will be set out shortly.
This will be a major lifeline particularly for thousands of bed and breakfasts and small hospitality businesses who have seen a significant fall in income due to the Coronavirus and have previously fallen outside the scope of the support as they have been advised to pay council tax rather than business Rates.
In Scotland, a £100 million package of additional grant support from the Scottish Government for small and medium sized businesses (SMEs) and newly self-employed people has also been announced.
The three separate funds will be administered by local authorities and Scotland’s enterprise agencies and will begin to pay out grants in early May.
A £20 million fund for small and micro enterprises in the creative, tourism and hospitality sectors. To be eligible your company should have no more than 49 employees, experienced at least a 50% loss of current or projected revenue, you were not in financial difficulty before 31 December 2019 and not be in receipt of other COVID-19 government support, except the Furlough Scheme.
A £34 million hardship fund for the newly self-employed. Eligibility criteria include that you became self-employed on/after 6 April 2019 (did not submit a tax return including income from self-employment for 2018-19), over 50% of your individual income is from self-employment, and your trading profits were below £50,000 in financial year 2019-20. You must have lost business due to coronavirus and are suffering financial hardship as a result and you are ineligible for other COVID-19 related business support. You also need to trade as self-employed, not as a limited company or partnership.
A £45 million fund for viable SMEs crucial to the Scottish economy which are vulnerable. To be eligible your company must have no more than 249 employees, have been trading successfully before Covid19 , less than €50 million turnover or balance sheet total of €43 million, can demonstrate the funding will support the business to be viable and you were not in financial difficulty before 31 December 2019. You will also need to be a Fair Work employer or working towards becoming a Fair Work employer.
Scottish businesses operating within the events industry, including those within the events supply chain, are being encouraged to review the criteria of these funds to determine if they are eligible. It is expected demand for the funds will be high and so looking into the support as soon as possible is advisable.