Assistance for businesses: Local authority and other grants available

Published by Andrew Tate  on 5 January 2021

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Last updated 8 January 2021

The Government has implemented a raft of measures to support businesses through the COVID-19 pandemic. Some of these are being administered by the local authorities, as outlined below. Other organisations are also allocating funding to support local businesses and, in particular, charity and community groups. A selection of the assistance available is covered below, but further funding is constantly being made available.

Please note, grants from Local Authorities are subject to State Aid rules. These are currently under review following the UK’s withdrawal from the European Union and the end of the transition period on 31 December 2020, but in the meantime, the WTO’s rules regarding this do apply for grants made from 1 January 2021. For further information, and to check eligibility, please visit the GOV.UK site.

One-off Top Up Grants

The Government has allocated a further £4.1 billion in funding for businesses in the leisure, retail and hospitality sectors closed due to the January 2021 lockdown. Businesses will be eligible to receive the following, based on their rateable value:

  • £4,000 for businesses with a rateable value of £15,000 or under
  • £6,000 for businesses with a rateable value between £15,000 and £51,000
  • £9,000 for businesses with a rateable value of over £51,000

For further information, please contact your Local Authority.

The Local Restrictions Support Grant

On 12 November 2020, the Government announced further support for businesses during the national lockdown from 5 November to 2 December and those forced to close or severely impacted by local restrictions from 9 September. The amount of support varies depending on whether the business was allowed to remain open during the lockdown or was forced to close. £2.2 billion has been allocated to support businesses in England.

Closed businesses (national lockdown)

Businesses that were open as usual but were then required to close between 5 November and 2 December 2020 due to the national restrictions may be entitled to a cash grant from their local council for each 28 day period under national restrictions. The grant is based on the rateable value of the property on the first full day of restrictions.

  • If your business has a property with a rateable value of £15,000 or less, you may be eligible for a cash grant of £1,334 for each 28-day qualifying restrictions period.
  • If your business has a property with a rateable value over £15,000 and less than £51,000, you may be eligible for a cash grant of £2,000 for each 28-day qualifying restrictions period.
  • If your business has a property with a rateable value of £51,000 or above, you may be eligible for a cash grant of £3,000 for each 28-day qualifying restrictions period.

To apply, please visit the website of your local authority.

Closed businesses (local restrictions)

Businesses that were open as usual and were then required to close due to local restrictions may be entitled to a local restrictions support grant from their local council for each 14 day period they are closed. As with the national support grant, the amount of the grant is based on the rateable value of the property on the first day of restrictions.

  • If your business has a property with a rateable value of £15,000 or less, you may be eligible for a cash grant of £667.
  • If your business has a property with a rateable value over £15,000 and less than £51,000, you may be eligible for a cash grant of £1,000.
  • If your business has a property with a rateable value of £51,000 or above, you may be eligible for a cash grant of £1,500.

The grant will be extended to cover each additional 14-day period of closure. If your business is closed for 28-days, or 2 payment cycles, it will receive £1,334, £2,000 or £3,000, depending on the rateable value of the property.

To apply, please visit the website of your local authority.

Open businesses (local restrictions) 

Businesses that were allowed to remain open but were severely impacted during the national lockdown may be entitled to a cash grant from their local council for each 28 day period under national restrictions. N.B. This grant is at the discretion of the local council, who have determined the precise eligibility criteria for their own grants.

The grant is based on the rateable value of the property on the first full day of restrictions.

  • If your business has a property with a rateable value of £15,000 or less, you may be eligible for a cash grant of up to £934 for each 28-day period.
  • If your business has a property with a rateable value over £15,000 and less than £51,000, you may be eligible for a cash grant of up to £1,400 for each 28-day period.
  • If your business has a property with a rateable value of £51,000 or above, you may be eligible for a cash grant of up to £2,100 for each 28-day period.

To apply, please visit the website of your local authority.

Additional Restrictions Grant

The Additional Restrictions Grant supports businesses that have been impacted by coronavirus but are not eligible for other grant schemes, including if they do not pay business rates. Local authorities have the discretion to determine which businesses to target and how much they will receive as part of the grant. Further funding has been allocated for Local Authorities to support businesses affected by the January 2021 lockdown.

To apply, please visit the website of your local authority.

Grants for equipment, professional, legal and financial advice

On 30 July 2020, the Government announced grants of between £1,000 – £5,000 for businesses to access specialist professional advice such as HR, accountants, legal, financial, IT and digital, and to purchase technology or other equipment to adapt or adopt new technology in order to continue operating business activity or diversify.

The grants are fully funded by the Government and will be distributed via local Growth Hubs in England.

Business rates relief

Businesses in the retail, leisure, childcare and hospitality industries have been eligible for a business rates holiday from 1 April 2020, regardless of their rateable value. Local authorities have recalculated bills which should have been sent to all eligible businesses. If any businesses believe they are eligible and have not received a revised bill, they should contact their local authority.

Business rates relief for public houses has also been increased to £5,000 for the 2020/21 financial year.

For detailed guidance on whether your business qualifies for business rates relief, please refer to the Government’s guidance on eligibility.

Small and retail, leisure and hospitality business grants

The local authorities have also administered grants of up to £25,000 to eligible businesses who either quality for ‘Small business’ or ‘Rural rates’ relief, or for certain businesses within the retail, leisure and hospitality sectors.

Small business grant funding of £10,000 has been made available for all businesses in receipt of small business rate relief or rural rate relief.

Grant funding of £25,000 has been made available for retail, hospitality and leisure businesses for property with a rateable value between £15,000 and £51,000.

If any businesses believe they are eligible for the grant but have not yet received it, they should contact their local authority.

Kent and Medway Business Fund

Kent County Council has re-opened their Kent and Medway Business Fund (KMBF) loan scheme. They also launched two new loan schemes in response to the economic crisis caused by COVID-19. The schemes are available to help businesses to recover and return to growth, and the funds can be used for working capital (KMBF Recovery Loan) and capital investment (KMBF Capital Growth Loan). All the funds operate as 0% interest loan schemes and the loans are for between £50K to £100K for the two new loan schemes, and between £100K-£500K for the original KMBF scheme. Whilst these loan schemes are currently closed to new applications, they may re-open in the near future.

For further information, please visit the Kent County Council website.

East Sussex County Council

East Sussex County Council has various grant programmes available. For the full list see their website.

East Sussex Invest 7 fund is one such programme designed to support the local economy and create jobs. It is delivered by the County Council in partnership with Locate East Sussex. The fund offers grants and loans for capital investment to stimulate business growth and job creation in the county. These include:

  • Grants from £10k to £25k – require minimum match funding of 60%
  • Loans from £10k to £200k – require minimum match funding of 50% and have an arrangement fee of £500 which may be added to the loan on request.
  • There is an additional grant of £1.5k for a new accredited apprentice position. This is a one off payment with no match or evidence of spend required; it is limited to one per successful application.

Businesses are required to apply for all Covid-19 business funding they are eligible for prior to applying to this fund.

Sustainable Innovation Fund

The Sustainable Innovation Fund has been announced by Government to help support innovative businesses to bounce back from the impact of coronavirus. The £200 million package is being delivered through Innovate UK and will help companies keep their cutting-edge projects and ideas alive. There are various support packages available and more information is available at Innovate UK.

Sussex Community Foundation Crisis Fund

The Sussex Community Foundation has launched a similar crisis fund for charities and community groups in Sussex. Initially, grants were made up to £5,000 to assist with needs emerging as a result of the pandemic, including organisation running costs. The fund is currently focusing on groups who are responding to the immediate crisis in the community. The Fund is currently paused for new applications whilst the amount of funding remaining to be distributed is determined. Funding for food security and emergency food programmes is, however, still being allocated. Further information is available on their website.

Arts Council England

Arts Council England have made £160 million of emergency funding available for organisations and individuals in the cultural sector and have also changed the funding requirements for individuals and organisations currently in receipt of their funding. Further information is available from Arts Council England.

For further information on the grants available, please speak with your usual Kreston Reeves contact, myself, Mike Collins or Caitlin Powell.

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