Discretionary small business grants coming soon

A new £617m top-up fund has been announced by the UK Government to help more small firms impacted by Coronavirus.

Grants may therefore be available for some businesses in Eden that are outside the scope of existing grant schemes. In particular those in shared spaces, regular market traders, small charity properties, and B&Bs that pay council tax rather than business rates.

Eden District Council is in charge of administering the scheme locally.

Council officers are working hard behind the scenes to understand guidance which has now been issued for the grant funding scheme. You can read the Local Authority Discretionary Grants Fund guidance (PDF) on GOV.UK, which makes it clear that councils will need to run an application process.

Councils across the country are working to develop their own schemes, but will face choices about which businesses to distribute funding to. Demand is expected to be higher than the total amount available.

Deputy Leader of Eden District Council, Councillor Mary Robinson, said; "the scheme is a welcome addition to the support package provided to businesses. It is though, expected to be more complex for local authorities and businesses, than the existing small business grants scheme.

This is due to the eligibility criteria that has been set out by the Government, which will require an application and checking process before grants can be approved and paid.

In addition, the aim in Cumbria is for each local authority to agree uniform processes and criteria: providing consistency in both how to apply and the levels of grants awarded, making it as easy as possible for eligible businesses to access their grant."

The Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy has outlined its expectations that the Local Authority Discretionary Grants are unlikely to be able to be distributed to businesses until June. In line with this, Eden District Council is working to agree an application process as soon as possible.

Until then, businesses are urged to keep monitoring announcements at or through the council’s social media channels @edencouncil on Twitter and @EdenDistrictCouncil on Facebook.