Discretionary Grant Fund (COVID-19)

The first round of applications to the Discretionary Grants Fund has been completed. Applicants have been notified of the outcome of their application.

As the available funding has not yet been fully allocated, we’re pleased to be able to extend the offer to more local businesses and charities, and also extend the application window to accommodate this. In particular,and subject to fulfilment of the eligibility criteria, we are now inviting applications from:

  • Home-based business
  • Independent charities
  • Private dentists

This is alongside the categories previously set out, included below.  

This round of funding will close on 16th August at 18:00. Please read all the information on this page before starting your application or deciding you are not eligible to apply.   

The Discretionary Grant Fund has been set up by the Government to help certain small and micro businesses and others outside the scope of the previous business grant schemes. The grants are available to those that meet the criteria below.  

The grants are available to those that meet the criteria below. Please note: we expect to have to amend the scheme to fit demand. This means we may need to adjust grant values and eligibility thresholds to meet the budget available. Therefore:

  • Applying for a grant does not necessarily mean that a grant will be paid, even if you meet the eligibility criteria.
  • The grants paid may be higher or lower than the indicative values below.

Applicants must complete our online application form and provide supporting evidence. We will assess all applications and overall demand before making any payments - the timetable is outlined below.

To be eligible for these grants, all applicants must:

  • Be a small and micro businesses, as defined by the Enterprise and Employment Act 2015 and the Companies Act 2006, including:
    • Turnover: Not more than £10.2 million 
    • Balance sheet total: Not more than 5.1 million 
    • Number of employees: a headcount of staff of less than 50
  • Satisfy the thresholds for Rateable Values for the applicable category below.
  • Have relatively high ongoing fixed property-related costs
  • Be able to demonstrate that they have suffered a significant fall in income due to the COVID-19 crisis (least 25%)
  • Have been trading on 11 March 2020 
  • Applicants must provide evidence of a current agreement of at least 3 months in place with the provider, which was active on 11 March 2020. 

Businesses that have applied for or are eligible for Self-Employed Income Support Scheme can apply for these grants if they meet the other eligibility criteria.  In these circumstances, these grants will be limited to a maximum of £2,500.

Businesses eligible for or claiming The Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme (‘furloughing scheme’) are also able to apply.

This scheme is NOT available to those that:

If you are not eligible, but yours is a small business in a business property eligible for Small Business Rate Relief, you should have received a grant under the Government’s Small Business Grant Fund scheme. If you have not received this, please contact [email protected] or call 020 8547 5007.

You should first check eligibility for other Government grants and support on the Government website.

You can check if your property has a Rateable Value, and what this is, here.

This second round of funding is open to:

1. Independent* hospitalityand leisure businesses, including (for example) : bars, restaurants and cafes, gyms, spas and sports clubs in premises with Rateable Values between £51,000 and £100,000. Grants may be up to £10,000 subject to demand.

2. Independent* retailers in business property with Rateable Values between £51,000 and £100,000. Grants may be up to £10,000 subject to demand.

We also invite applications from independent retailers in properties with Rateable Values below £51K, where the tenant does not pay Business Rates directly, and has not benefited from grants paid to their landlord. Grants may be up to £5,000 subject to demand.

3. Artists and makers in studios/ shared workspaces without their own Rateable Value, and an all-inclusive fee to the studio/workspace operator of a minimum of £250 per month   Applicants provide evidence of a current agreement of at least 3 months in place the provider, which was active on 11 March 2020. Only one grant available per studio, if shared. Grants may be in the region of £1500, subject to demand. 

4. Independent* coworking and shared workspace operators that provide desk-based workspaces in a shared environment, with Rateable Values up to £51K RV. Grants may be up to £10,000.

5. Independent* Ofsted registered childcare providers and nursery businesses that operate in business premises with Rateable Value below £100K, or in flexible workspaces as set out in point 6, below (Residential-based providers and childminders are not eligible).  Grants nominally up to £5K for RV up to £50K; £10K for >£50K.  

We also invite applications for the following category, which expands the previous shared workspace category:

6. Small and micro businesses (up to 49 employees) in shared offices and workspaces or other flexible workspaces with fixed ongoing property costs, without their own business rates assessment. For this scheme, ‘shared workspace’ refers to any spaces whereby an all-inclusive rent or fee is paid, and businesses do not have direct business rates liabilities, and workspaces or their facilities are shared with others.  Examples include; fixed desks with ongoing agreements in coworking spaces, workshops or units in industrial parks, science parks and incubator spaces.  Maker spaces and artist studios are covered in a separate category. Grants nominally up to £5000, or £2500 if claiming Self Employment Income Support. Applicants must provide evidence of a current agreement of at least 3 months in place with the provider, which was active on 11 March 2020.

Additional eligible applicants:

7. Home based businesses: To be eligible, you must be able to demonstrate that you use a defined part of your home or property to carry out the activities of your business on a regular and ongoing basis and that this business has ongoing costs;  your business must be registered at this same address, and you must be the council tax payer for the property. You will need to provide some evidence to demonstrate your home is regularly used for your business - this could include for example an insurance policy, your mortgage or lease arrangements, your tax return, any licenses or planning approvals.

8. Private dental practices: in properties with Rateable Values up to £100,000 pa.

9. Independent* charities in receipt of charitable business rates relief, in properties with rateable values between £15,000 and £100,000, except 'Exempt Charities' and schools

All grant levels referred to are indicative and will likely be amended to fit budget and demand. The council reserves the right to amend any aspect of the scheme and apply its discretion to any grant payments.

The grant levels for the additional categories 7-9 above will be determined based on demand, in relation to the funds available. The indicative grant levels for the other categories may give an indication of the scale and range of potential grants. 

*For the purposes of this grant scheme, and applying to businesses and charities, independent means:

  • Must not be a public limited company.
  • Must be below 50 employees across all branches.
  • Must not be a national chain, or a more local chain with more than 5 properties. (If applying for multiple properties, one grant is available per property that is within borough, up to three grants, each assessed independently). We may apply discretion with regards to local chains.
  • Can be under private, cooperative or community ownership.

Providing evidence

Applicants will need to provide evidence or make declarations in the application form that they meet the eligibility criteria above. This includes:

  • Evidence of agreements with studio/workspace provider for at least three months including 11 March, and that the applicant was trading on 11 March 2020 
  • This should take the form of leases, agreements or contracts showing an obligation to pay, and bank statements showing that payments have actually been made. 
  • Evidence to demonstrate the significant loss in income as a result of the current situation (minimum loss of 25%). This is likely to be in the form of filed accounts for previous years and management accounts/bank statements for the current period, or (e.g.) Quickbooks/Sage accounts supported by a bank statement.
  • If applicable, evidence to demonstrate your home is regularly used for your business - this could include for example an insurance policy, your mortgage or lease arrangements, your tax return, any licenses or planning approvals.
  • Any break in fees such as a rent payment holiday or pause in membership fees 
  • Confirmation of complying with the definition of a Small or Micro Business.
  • Confirmation that the business has not received any of the grants set out above that would make them ineligible. 
  • Confirmation of State Aid compliance

Validating your application 

We will check every application and its supporting evidence for eligibility. This will include checks with Companies House and/or Credit Referencing Agencies to confirm information about you, your business and bank account. Speculative, false or fraudulent applications will be rejected and applications could be used in legal action where attempted fraud is suspected.

In applying for the grants, you accept that if a grant payment is made in error you must repay this. If necessary, action will be taken in these circumstances. 

Incomplete applications and applications without clear evidence may be rejected. If a new application is needed the council cannot accept responsibility if the applicant subsequently misses the application window.

Evaluation process

All applications will be assessed by council officers against the criteria above and the evidence you provide. You will be contacted if further information is needed.

Once all applications have been assessed, applicants will be notified of the outcome. No payments will be made until all applications have been assessed. The council’s decisions on allocations are final and there is no appeal process.

Timeframe

The application will close at 6pm on 16 August 2020. No applications will be assessed until the window closes. We anticipate first payments being made from week commencing 24 August.

Beware of scams and ‘phishing’ emails

Criminals are attempting to take advantage of these schemes. Only submit your form using the link found on this website directly - never use a third party link to get to this, or to respond to a grant ‘paid in error’. There is no need to pay a company to submit this application for you, and doing so may expose you to risks from scammers.

If we contact you by phone we will email you first. This will enable you to verify who we are. Because the Guildhall Complex remains closed, staff checking your application will be working from home. An incoming call to your phone may show that the caller’s number is withheld because our staff will be using their personal phone. You will be asked to check your email and to quote your claim reference number

Apply for a Discretionary Grant