Discretionary Grant Fund

The Government's Discretionary Grant Scheme aims to support small and micro businesses that require support due to the COVID-19 shutdown, and who have been unable to access other grant funds such as Small Business grant and Retail, Hospitality and Leisure grant

We have £990,000 of grant funding available to eligible businesses. Grants will be disbursed to the value of £25,000, £10,000 or any amount under £10,000. The amount of any payment made to a qualifying business is at our discretion (South Holland District Council).

As there are limited funds available for South Holland based businesses, funding will be awarded on a means tested basis. In order to ensure that payments can be made to businesses as quickly as possible, we will be seeking to process applications on a 'first come, first served' basis. 

We recommend businesses read our guidance in full: Icon for pdf Discretionary Grant Applicant Guidance [283.71KB]

Discretionary Grant Fund eligibility criteria

Only small and micro businesses can apply for the discretionary grant fund and are required to check they meet the eligibility criteria before applying. The criteria for small and micro businesses is as follows:

  • have less than 50 employees and either
    • (1) a turnover of less than £10.2 million per annum, or
    • (2) a balance sheet value of less than £5.1 million
  • were trading on 11 March 2020
  • can demonstrate that they've suffered a significant drop in income (of 30 percent or more) due to the COVID-19 crisis
  • have relatively high ongoing fixed property-related costs (see FAQs two, seven, eleven and twenty-two for more information)
  • occupy property, or part of a property, with a rateable value or annual rent or annual mortgage payments of below £51,000 (see FAQ twelve for more information). This means that the scheme is open to a business with a rateable value in excess of £51,000, as long as the annual rent or annual mortgage payments for the business are below £51,000
  • businesses who are eligible for other grants from any central government COVID-19 related scheme are not eligible for funding from the discretionary grants fund, including:
    • Small Business Grant
    • Retail, Hospitality and Leisure Grant
    • The Fisheries Response Fund
    • Domestic Seafood Supply Scheme (DSSS)
    • The Zoos Support Fund
    • The Diary Hardship Fund.
  • Businesses that are in administration, are insolvent or where a striking-off notice has been made, are not eligible for a discretionary grant.

Please note that businesses who have applied for the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme, the Self Employment Income Support Scheme or the Statutory Sick Pay Scheme are eligible to apply for a discretionary grant.

Before applying for the Discretionary Grant Fund

We recommend eligible businesses prepare certain information before completing the online application for discretionary grant funding. Eligible businesses are advised to gather the following information in advance of completing the online application.

For discretionary grants of up to £10,000

Businesses requesting a grant of less than £10,000 will be required to provide:

  • The amount of grant funding required to support the business, and which can be clearly evidenced as being required through financial and accountancy information
  • Bank statement with transactions showing income coming into the business between:
    • 1 March and 31 May 2020, and
    • 1 March and 31 May 2019
  • Evidence of fixed and ongoing property costs detailing rent or commercial mortgage commitments and any rate payments between 1 March and 31 May 2020 (see FAQ six for the types of evidence to be submitted as evidence for property related costs)
  • If a business is unable to provide evidence in the formats suggested (see FAQs four and six), they can provide justification for other forms of suitable financial evidence being submitted. 

For discretionary grants of £10,000 or £25,000

Businesses requesting a grant of either £10,000 or £25,000 will be required to provide:

  • The amount of grant funding required to support the business, and which can be clearly evidenced as being required through financial and accountancy information
  • The most recent set of Certified Accounts
  • Management Accounts or equivalent financial information covering the COVID‐19 pandemic period
  • Bank statement with transactions showing income coming into the business between:
    • 1 March and 31 May 2020, and
    • 1 March and 31 May 2019
  • Evidence of fixed and ongoing property costs detailing rent or commercial mortgage commitments and any rate payments between 1 March and 31 May 2020 (see FAQ six for the types of evidence to be submitted as evidence for property related costs) 
  • If a business is unable to provide evidence in the formats suggested (see FAQs four and six), they can provide justification for other forms of suitable financial evidence being submitted.

Due to expected interest in the discretionary grant funding scheme, we are unable to provide support to businesses in completing the application process. However, businesses can email questions about the scheme to the council via economicdevelopment@sholland.gov.uk.

Apply for a discretionary grant

Before applying for the discretionary grant, please ensure you meet the eligibility criteria and have prepared the relevant documents that need to be submitted as part of the online application. It is advisable to check the file size of your documents, as there will be an upload limit of 10MB per document. We recommend a file size of 1MB to 2MB per document.

Apply for a discretionary grant

Application assessment and decision

The Council will consider grant applications on a first come, first served basis. Applications will be assessed and paid to eligible businesses who:

  • apply for the grant using the online discretionary grant fund application, and
  • also provide sufficient supporting evidence as part of their application. 

All applicants will be informed of our decision in writing or by email. 

Unfortunately, applications that do not include appropriate financial information or evidence of fixed on-going property related costs will not be considered. 

When this scheme reaches a point where all funds are committed, we will close the scheme for applications. Any further re-opening of the scheme will be publicised in advance. All decisions will be taken at our discretion and are not subject to a request for a review and/or second consideration. Our complaints procedure will be followed for any complaint received about this scheme.

Discretionary Grant Fund FAQs

We have gathered the following frequently asked questions (FAQs) relating to the Discretionary Grant Fund Scheme available from South Holland District Council:

  1. Can a business receive more than one grant under this scheme? (for example, if based across multiple properties)
    No, businesses can only receive one discretionary grant. If a business has more than one premises, the associated costs need to be provided as a total. This is so that when we are assessing the application, we can understand the business's total fixed property costs.
     
  2. Is there scope to provide grants to businesses without premises costs?
    No, South Holland District Council will only consider businesses with relatively high fixed on-going property related costs. However, the council can support businesses with advice and support in accessing other funds designed to meet other forms of cost, including salary costs and support with cash flow.
     
  3. If a newer business was fitting out a property prior to 11 March 2020, but never got round to opening/trading, would it be eligible for this fund?
    The mandatory criteria requires that a business was trading as of 11 March 2020. Grant payments can only be paid to firms that meet the mandatory requirements.
     
  4. What are evidence requirements for 'significant fall in income'?
    For businesses requesting grants under £10,000 we would expect as a minimum a self-certified statement from the business explaining how COVID-19 has impacted negatively on their sales income plus hard evidence in the form of bank statements with transactions for the period 1st March 2020 to 31st May 2020 and the transactions for the corresponding period in 2019.

    For businesses requesting either a £25,000 or a £10,000 grant we would expect as a minimum a self-certified statement from the business explaining how COVID-19 has impacted negatively on their sales income plus hard evidence in the form of bank statements with transactions for the period 1st March 2020 to 31st May 2020 and the transactions for the corresponding period in 2019. In addition, we would require copies of the most recent set of Certified Accounts plus Management Accounts, or equivalent financial information, covering the COVID-19 pandemic period.

    If a business is unable to provide evidence in this format they need to provide justification for other forms of suitable financial evidence being submitted.

    The evidence requirements set out above are the minimum requirements and the Council reserves the right to request additional information to complete its assessment. However, as a rule if you do not supply relevant information your application will not be considered.
     
  5. What are considered as fixed ongoing property related costs?
    Only unavoidable Rent, including service charges, Commercial Mortgage payments and/or Rate payments are being considered as "Relatively High, fixed ongoing property related costs".

    The Council will not consider insurance, groundwork, security or other variable property related costs in their assessment. Council Tax will be deemed an eligible property cost in cases where the business is not run from the rate payers residential home (such as in the case of Care Homes). Bed and Breakfast establishments are a notable exception to this rule and may apply if they satisfy the mandatory eligibility checks.
     
  6. What evidence must businesses submit to prove fixed ongoing property related costs?
    Businesses can chose the most appropriate evidence to illustrate they are incurring ongoing fixed property costs between 1 March and 31 May 2020. This might include a copy of their commercial lease or license showing the annual rents and services charges. A highlighted rent payment on supplied bank transactions, a copy of their commercial mortgage statement showing annual mortgage payments or details of actual business rates paid to the Council. The Council will not be looking at insurance, groundwork, security or other variable property related costs in their assessment.
  7. Can mooring or marina fees be counted as a 'fixed property cost' for businesses that involve boat tours or floating restaurants, for example?
    Yes, these could count as a fixed property cost.
     
  8. Are businesses that have accessed loan or deferral schemes (for example, Deferral of VAT or the Coronavirus Business Interruption Loan Scheme) eligible for grants under this scheme?
    Yes. It is only where businesses have received COVID-19 related grant funding from Government that they are ineligible for support under this scheme. Businesses receiving Job retention support for furloughed workers and Self Employed Income Support are both eligible to apply for discretionary grants.
     
  9. Where an owner has two limited businesses, can they apply for a discretionary grant for both businesses?
    Yes, as separate Limited companies they potentially both could be eligible.
     
  10. Can Market Traders apply for a discretionary grant? 
    Yes, if they meet the seven mandatory eligibility criteria. They will however have to prove they are 'regular' market traders and that they either live or are incorporated with a South Holland postcode.

    As with the other priority businesses for this fund, these will be businesses who do not have a separate assessment for Non-Domestic Rating (i.e. those businesses who do not occupy a separate hereditament within the 2017 Rating List).

    The Council has decided that for the purpose of this scheme, market traders shall be defined as: "a business or person who sells goods wholly or mainly to visiting members of the public from a stall, pitch or similar, from a place or market recognised by the Council as a market".

    Where the business is street trading, the business or person must hold a valid street market licence issued by the Council.

    All market traders must prove to the Council that as at 11th March 2020, they had a regular pitch or stall within the Council's area from which they sold goods to visiting members of the public.

    For the purposes of this scheme, 'regular' is defined as at least monthly. Where the market trader traded less frequently, the Council will not consider the business as priority for a grant. Where a market trader operates in more than one local authority area, the applicant will need to certify that they trade primarily in the Council's area and reside or be incorporated in South Holland. Those that have access a grant from another authority will not qualify to access a further grant through the council's scheme.
     
  11. Are annual pitch fees and storage costs classified as 'fixed property costs' for market traders?
    Yes, pitch fees and storage costs count as fixed property costs.
     
  12. Is a business in a shared workspace expected to know or be able to prove the rateable value (below £51,000) of the total premises within which they work?
    The fact that a business shares space in a property with a rateable value in excess of £51,000 per annum is largely irrelevant, as long as their rent does not exceed £51,000 per annum.
     
  13. Businesses in shared offices may have shared directors, i.e.; two companies trading from the same premises. Would there be an intention to restrict grants in these cases?
    No, both businesses can be assessed. As separate Limited companies they could potentially both be eligible.
     
  14. Do shared spaces include other premises such as antiques centres, where individual traders rent a space/stand from the landlord or forecourts in retail space?
    Yes.
     
  15. If a premise is shared and the landlord paying business rates has received funding but another business in the space has no business rates account, can Local Authorities now fund this other business?
    Yes. One of the key aims of this funding is to provide grants to businesses who have been unable to access previous grant support due to their premises being in shared space.
     
  16. The national guidance makes reference to B&Bs (bed and breakfasts) that pay council tax. How are you defining B&Bs? Does renting a room on Airbnb count?
    To be registered for council tax, B&Bs must have fewer than six bed spaces. We would expect properties to be wholly or mainly used as guest or boarding premises. We would expect to see two of the following documents:
    > A fire certificate obtained when setting up the B&B to get business insurance policy and public liability cover
    > Planning permission for change of use
    > Registered with local Environmental Health Officer when setting up the B&B to the property assessed
    > A 'hotel and mobile units television licence', which covers up to 15 televisions and can be purchased online from TV Licensing.
     
  17. Can Charities apply for Discretionary Grants?
    Charities in receipt of charitable business rates relief which would otherwise have been eligible for Small Business Rates Relief or Rural Rate Relief may be eligible to apply for a grant.
     
  18. Are self-catering properties eligible to apply?
    Yes, if they meet the seven mandatory criteria.
     
  19. Are Care Homes who pay Council Tax eligible to apply?
    Yes, if they meet the seven mandatory criteria.
     
  20. Will Parish Councils be eligible for this fund?
    No, Parish and Town Council are ineligible to apply for the discretionary grants in their own right. However, applications will be welcomed from businesses and charities that operate community assets, such as village halls, pending that they meet the seven mandatory eligibility criteria.
     
  21. Will suppliers to the retail, hospitality and leisure sectors, who experienced a loss of income but who were deemed ineligible for the Retail, Hospitality and Leisure grant, be able to apply for a discretionary grant?
    Yes, if they meet the seven mandatory criteria.
     
  22. Businesses based in a residential dwelling may take fixed property costs to include their house mortgages etc, could support be given to these businesses?
    Residential dwelling fixed property costs, such as mortgage payments and Council Taxes, will be ineligible for inclusion in the financial assessment. With the exception of Bed and Breakfasts or where the ratepayer pay Council Tax on a property that is not their main residence, for example a Care Home.
     
  23. Will discretionary grants be subject to tax?
    National guidance states that Grant income received by a business is taxable therefore funding paid under the Local Authority Discretionary Grants Fund will be subject to tax. If you require clarity on this point, please seek independent financial advice.
     
  24. How does the Council minimise false claims and fraud?
    Neither the Council, nor the Government will accept deliberate manipulation of the scheme and fraud. Any applicant caught falsifying information to gain additional grant money or failing to declare entitlement to any of the specified grants may face prosecution and any funding issued may be recovered from them.

    Applicants should note that, where a grant is paid by the Council, details of each individual grant may be passed to Government.

    The Council reserves the right to reclaim any grant paid in error.
     
  25. The mandatory criteria states that businesses must be trading on the 11 March 2020 to be eligible for a Discretionary Grant. How does the Council define 'trading'?
    Businesses must be able to evidence they were income generating by the 11 March 2020. Preparing to open will not be classified as "trading". Bank statements will be requested to prove the business was income generating by the 11 March 2020. The Council will require proof that the business was trading on 11 March 2020 and was not dormant, subject to a winding up order, in administration or subject to striking off.
     
  26. Are Discretionary Grants subject to State Aid?
    Any Discretionary Grant is given as aid under the Temporary Framework for State Aid measures to support the economy in the current COVID-19 outbreak published on 19 March 2020. This means that businesses receiving support under these provisions can receive up to a value of €800,000 in aid over three years (being the current and the previous two years). Any grant awarded is required to comply with the EU law on State Aid. This will involve the applicant declaring to the Council if they have received any other de minimis State aid or aid provided under the EU Commission Covid-19 Temporary Framework. If the applicant has not received any other de minimis State Aid, they are not required to make that declaration to the Council or to complete any declaration statement.
     
  27. Is there an appeals process if a business disagrees with the Council's ruling?
    The final decision as to a) whether to pay a grant, and b) how much grant to pay, will be made by the council. All decisions will be taken at discretion of the council and are non-contestable. The Council's complaints procedure will be applied in the event of any complaint received about this scheme.