UK Government announces discretionary fund for small businesses



The UK Government has set up a discretionary fund to help financially support certain small businesses who previously fell outside the scope of the business grant funds scheme.

The business secretary Alok Sharma and Simon Clarke, minister for regional growth and local government, said up to £617 million would be made available.

This is an additional 5% uplift to the £12.33 billion funding previously announced for the Small Business Grants Fund (SBGF) and the Retail, Hospitality and Leisure Grants Fund (RHLGF), so up to £617m. 

This additional fund is aimed at small businesses with ongoing fixed property-related costs. 

The government has urged local authorities to prioritise businesses in shared spaces, regular market traders, small charity properties that would meet the criteria for Small Business Rates Relief, and bed and breakfasts that pay council tax rather than business rates.

But local authorities may choose to make payments to other businesses based on local economic need. The allocation of funding will be at the discretion of local authorities.

Businesses must be small, under 50 employees, and they must also be able to demonstrate that they have seen a significant drop in income due to Coronavirus restriction measures.

There will be three levels of grant payments. The maximum will be £25,000. There will also be grants of £10,000. local authorities will have discretion to make payments of any amount under £10,000. It will be for councils to adapt this approach to local circumstances.

The UK Government has said that further guidance for local authorities will be set out shortly.

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