Small firms urged to apply for discretionary grant fund

May 28, 2020

APPLICATIONS from businesses for a share of the government discretionary fund, which is aimed at small businesses with ongoing fixed property-related costs, are being processed by officials at Luton Council.

The money is intended as an extra boost for small and micro businesses with relatively high ongoing fixed property-related costs and which can show they have suffered a significant fall in income. 

Also able to apply are businesses which occupy property, or part of a property, with a rateable value or annual rent or annual mortgage payments below £51,000.

Cllr Sian Timoney.

Cllr Sian Timoney, portfolio holder responsible for economic development and business support said, “This is such an incredibly tough time for businesses and so the introduction of another grant scheme is good news for those struggling at this time.”

The portal for applications opened yesterday (Wednesday) and is open until June 10. If funds remain, a second window will open for applications.

To be eligible, businesses must be small and must also be able to demonstrate that they have seen a significant drop of income due to the Covid-19 crisis. Applications will be open until 10 June and if there are any funds left over following this round a second window of applications will be opened up.

To be defined as small, a business must meet two or more of the following requirements in a year:

  • Turnover of no more than £10.2 million; 
  • A balance sheet total of no more than £5.1 million;
  • A staff headcount of less than 50.

To be a micro business, it must meet two or more of the following requirements in a year:

  • Turnover of no more than £632,000; 
  • Balance sheet total no more than £316,000;
  • Staff headcount of a maximum 10.

The scheme has three tiers of grants of £1,000, £5,000 and £10,000 which will be based on a scoring system set against certain criteria.

Cllr Timoney said: “This is a discretionary grant and we have done our best, working from the guidance we have been given from government, to create a scheme for Luton. We have based this on our local intelligence to see where the gaps in support are and what we have created will help address this. 

“In particular we hope it will be support for businesses that that could not apply for the retail, hospitality and leisure and small business grants”.

Applications can be made through the Advice for Business section of the council’s website.Information on other types of financial support and guidance can also be found on the Advice for Business pages.

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