Policy updated 27 May 2020 due to revised Government guidance and FAQ documents.

Approved 27 May 2020 in consultation with the Section 151 Officer & Cabinet Member for Finance

Overview

On the 13 May 2020 the Government published guidance on the Local Authority Discretionary Grants Fund.
This additional fund is aimed at small businesses who were not eligible for the Small Business Grant Fund or the Retail, Leisure and Hospitality Fund.

The allocation is based on the data return from local authorities as at 3 May 2020, which included a projection of spend totals for the Small Business and Retail, Hospitality and Leisure Grants Funds.

Torbay Funding Allocation

For Torbay, this equates to £1.718m.

Eligibility

This grant funding is for businesses that are not eligible for other support schemes. Businesses which have received cash grants from any central government COVID-related scheme are ineligible for funding from the Discretionary Grants Fund. Such grant schemes include but are not limited to:

  • Small Business Grant Fund
  • Retail, Hospitality and Leisure Grant
  • The Fisheries Response Fund
  • Domestic Seafood Supply Scheme (DSSS).
  • The Zoos Support Fund
  • The Dairy Hardship Fund

Businesses who have applied for the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme are eligible to apply for this scheme.

Businesses who are eligible for the Self-Employed Income support scheme (SEISS) are eligible to apply for this scheme as well.

Only businesses which were trading on 11 March 2020 are eligible for this scheme.

Companies that are in administration, are insolvent or where a striking-off notice has been made are not eligible for funding under this scheme

Government priorities

The Government has asked local authorities to prioritise the following types of businesses for grants from within this funding pot:

  • Small businesses in shared offices or other flexible workspaces. Examples could include units in industrial parks, science parks and incubators which do not have their own business rates assessment;
  • Regular market traders with fixed building costs, such as rent, who do not have their own business rates assessment;
  • Bed & Breakfasts which pay Council Tax instead of business rates; and
  • Charity properties in receipt of charitable business rates relief which would otherwise have been eligible for Small Business Rates Relief or Rural Rate Relief.

The guidance also empowers Local Authorities to provide support for businesses that are crucial for
their local economies.

Focus of grants

Furthermore, the Government has stated that these grants are primarily and predominantly aimed
at:

  • Small and micro businesses, as defined in Section 33 Part 2 of the Small Business, Enterprise
    and Employment Act 2015 and the Companies Act 2006.
  • Businesses with relatively high ongoing fixed property-related costs
  • Businesses which can demonstrate that they have suffered a significant fall in income due to
    the COVID-19 crisis
  • Businesses which occupy a property, or part of a property, with a rateable value or annual rent
    or annual mortgage payments below £51,000.

As part of the application process, applicants will be required to evidence that the above.

Torbay Approach

Based on local intelligence the number of businesses that could apply, far outstrips the funding
allocated so far. Therefore, Local authorities have been given the discretion as to which type of
businesses are most relevant to their local economy.

Applications will be open in tranches.

Tranche 1 will be for two groups which will be required to demonstrate a significant fall in income
and relatively ongoing fixed property-related costs:

  • Non-ratepaying businesses which covers the Government priority groups ( i - iv )
  • Rate paying businesses most relevant to the local economy.

For the second group, the types of businesses will be identified in consultation with TDA. The types
of businesses invited to apply will clearly be identified on our website and social media
when the scheme is open.

Given the significance of the visitor economy, this is where tranche 1 will focus.

If there is remaining funding the scheme will be expanded accordingly in consultation with the
Section 151 Officer and Cabinet Member for Finance.

Tranche one will initially be open until 7 June. During the application window, a maximum of 20% of
the total funding will be released to support the highest priority businesses before the 1st June, with
the next highest priority applicants being paid on the 1 June, with a final tranche one payment
made on the week commencing 8 June. Prioritisation of payments will be based on the relative fall
in income, ongoing fixed property-related costs and number of employees. This approach has been
taken to ensure a fair process whereby businesses do not run the risk of missing out due to not
being able to provide the evidence within the first few days of the application window.

Levels of award

In accordance with the guidance, and in consultation with Devon-wide Local Authorities Torbay
has agreed to the following levels of grants which provide equity for businesses across the region;

Levels of discretionary grants available
Level Award Small businesses in shared offices or other flexible workspaces Regular market traders B&Bs which pay Council Tax Charity properties in receipt of charitable business rates relief Rate-payers relevant to the Local Economy
One £1,000 Yes Yes Yes No No
Two £2,500 Yes Yes Yes No No
Three £5,000 Yes No Yes No Yes
Four £10,000 Yes No No Yes Yes
Five £25,000 No No No No Yes


Where possible, rate-paying businesses will receive the equivalent award that they would have
received under the Small Business Grant Fund (SBGF) or Retail, Hospitality and Leisure Grant Fund
(RHLGF).

Non-Ratepaying businesses will receive a grant based on their ongoing fixed property-related costs
and fall in income.

Where a business, operating in the visitor economy, was trading, but not open to the public on 11th
March due to the Visitor Economy focus April to October, a 50% reduction will be applied, with a
maximum award of £10,000.

If tranche one is oversubscribed, awards to businesses will be prioritised based on their relative levels
of ongoing fixed property-related costs, the number of employees and relevance to the Local Economy.

Further discretion

Any discretionary award outside of this policy must be approved in writing by the Section 151 Officer in consultation with the Cabinet member for finance.

Our decision is final.