Discretionary grants for businesses
We are pleased to say that we will be accepting applications from businesses for a discretionary grant from Monday 1 June.
This is a new, government-funded grant scheme to try and support businesses that have not been eligible for financial support up to now.
We will administer it and have discretion on how we do this, based on quite complex guidance from the government. It is fair to say, though, that it does not allow for as much discretion as we may have initially thought.
The guidance requires us to prioritise the following four groups:
- Small businesses in shared offices or other flexible workspaces
- Regular market traders with fixed building costs, such as rent, who do not have their own business rates assessment
- Bed and breakfasts which pay council tax instead of business rates
- Charity property in receipt of charitable business rates relief which would otherwise have been eligible for small business rates relief or rural rate relief
We know that we have a high number of businesses that come under these categories. Given the amount of money we have available, it is highly unlikely that we will get any further than supporting the range of businesses prioritised by the government. This seems to be the position for most Kent councils.
Grants will be issued for values between £2,000 and £10,000 depending on the level of fixed building-related costs and loss of income of each business.
Full details on how we will administer the scheme have been published on our website today. You can also sign up for email notifications (select the business and investment category) so that you can be alerted as soon as applications go live. There will be a 14-day window in which eligible businesses can apply.
Finally, we are aware that some councils have already opened their application process. This could give the impression that we are behind.
However, we will be using software to manage this process, compared to the manual approach taken by others. This means we will be able to get our grants out more quickly overall.
In the previous round of grants, we opened applications later, but achieved the highest rate of payment consistently over the following weeks.
Published: 22 May 2020