The Council has enacted its business continuity plans and is redeploying staff to priority services.

Please check our Coronavirus updates page for the latest information about Council services.

Covid-19 Discretionary Business Grants Scheme

This page can also be viewed in Polish, Bengali, French , Tagalog/Filipino, Spanish, Chinese (Simplified) , Chinese (Traditional), German, Portuguese , Slovak and Greek.


On 13 May the Government department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy (BEIS) issued Guidance for the Local Authority Discretionary Grants Fund.

The Local Authority Discretionary Grants Fund does not replace the Small Business Rate Relief, Rural Rate Relief Grant Fund or the Retail, Hospitality and Leisure Grant Fund, but is aimed atsmall businesses that were not eligible for these funds.

Priority Businesses

In accordance with Government guidelines the following types of businesses will be prioritised for grants:

  • 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 in Tunbridge Wells borough, 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.

Secondary Priority Group

Subject to expenditure on the Government’s priorities, a secondary priority group will also be considered. The following are local priorities that have been identified:

  • Businesses who missed out on the original grant scheme through a legitimate issue with their VOA status on 11 March;
  • Leisure, retail and hospitality businesses and those in the supply chain not eligible in other schemes; and
  • Cultural and creative businesses not eligible in other schemes.

Eligibility

In accordance with Government guidelines, the criteria for eligibility are as follows:

  • Businesses with ongoing fixed building-related costs
  • Businesses which can demonstrate that they have suffered a significant fall in income due to the Covid-19 crisis
  • Small Businesses as defined by the Company Act 2006
  • Businesses which occupy property, or part of a property, with a rateable value or annual rent or annual mortgage payments below £51,000
  • Businesses that were trading on 11 March 2020.

Small Businesses must satisfy two or more of the following requirements in a year:

  • Turnover: Not more than £10.2 million
  • Balance sheet total: Not more than £5.1 million
  • Number of employees: a headcount of staff of less than 50

If you have applied for the Furlough Scheme (Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme) you are still eligible to apply to this scheme.

If you have applied for the Self Employment Income Support Scheme you are eligible to apply for this scheme.

Evidence

In applying for the discretionary grant you will need to provide evidence of the financial impact and demonstrate fixed building-related costs. Please consider and be ready to provide (and upload documents etc.) the following evidence when requested on the online form:

Evidence to demonstrate the financial impact of Covid-19 on your business:

  • 4 months of bank statements (January - April)
  • Profit and loss account, balance sheet and cash flow statement
  • Evidence of payroll (if applicable)
  • Statement of accounts (if applicable)
  • Management accounts (if applicable)
  • Statement from your accountant (if applicable)
  • Order books and evidence of cancellations (if applicable)

Evidence to demonstrate fixed building-related costs:

  • Rental, lease or mortgage statement
  • Utility bills
  • Insurance certificate
  • Any evidence to support your other fixed building-related costs

Companies House – ‘Spotlight Check’

If business is a Limited Company, Charity or Limited Liability Partnership, a Government “Spotlight” check will be carried out to verify with Companies House that they have properly filed their Accounts, that their Confirmation Statement is up to date and that there are no outstanding Winding Up Orders or First Gazette Notices. An application can only proceed if the Company passes the “Spotlight” check. Please ensure information is up to date in advance of making an application.

Grant Value

Grants are expected to be issued for amounts between £2,000 and £10,000. TWBC will be restricting grants to this level in order to help as many businesses as possible. Situations of exceptional hardship will however be considered. TWBC will allocate grants according to how many eligible applications are received and the extent to which each business has been impacted by Covid-19.

Ineligible

In accordance with Government guidelines businesses which have received cash grants from any central Government Covid-19 related scheme are ineligible for funding from the Discretionary Grants Fund. Updated guidance says that companies that have received funds from the Self Employment Income Support Scheme (SEISS) and those who are part of the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme are eligible to apply for the Discretionary Grants Fund.

This includes but is 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

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

State Aid

It is necessary for businesses applying to confirm compliance with State Aid rules, as the UK remains within the transition period, and the Council must be satisfied that State Aid requirements have been fully met and complied with when making grant payments. Guidance provides further detail regarding State Aid provisions.

Tax

The grant income received by a business is taxable therefore funding paid under this funding scheme will be subject to tax. Guidance clarifies that only businesses which make an overall profit once grant income is included will be subject to tax.

FAQs

The Government has published frequently asked questions about the scheme.

Application Process

Applications can only be submitted using the online application form and must be received by 7 June 2020.

Any applications outside this period will only be considered in exceptional circumstances.

Supporting information must be provided as part of the application process.

Payments are expected to commence from the week beginning Monday 15 June 2020.

Unsuccessful applicants will be notified in writing.

Any appeal must be made within 7 days of notification of the decision to BusinessCovid19@tunbridgewells.gov.uk.

The full Government guidance can be found on their Grant Funding Schemes publication.

Apply for a Discretionary Business Grants Scheme

A - Z of council services