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Self-employed can now apply to discretionary business support fund

More businesses can now apply for a grant of £10,000 or £25,000 from the local authority discretionary business support fund after the government published revised guidance over the Bank Holiday weekend. 

The Council has updated its allocation policy in line with confirmation from the government that those who are eligible to apply to the Self-Employment Income Support Scheme, can also apply for a grant from the discretionary business support fund.

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Full details of the Council’s allocation scheme are available on its website 

Tim Dwelly, Cornwall Council cabinet portfolio holder for Culture, Economy and Planning said: “We’ve already received almost 2,000 applications and expressions of interest from business owners across Cornwall in just the past few days.”

 “This updated guidance from the government is welcome news as some businesses were concerned that they were not eligible to apply for the discretionary business support fund.”

“It does mean however that there is even greater pressure on the £13.5million allocated to Cornwall by the Government to fund these grants.  We and partners representing the business community are lobbying government and enlisting the help of our MPs for extra funding, so we can help as many businesses as possible receive the money they so desperately need to see them through this crisis.”     

The Government set out the guidelines for distributing this new pot of money for businesses who are struggling to survive due to the Coronavirus shutdown but are not eligible for other grant funding schemes.       

Grant of £10,000 are available. Some larger grants of up to £25,000 will be considered for businesses with very high property costs, however these applications will take longer to determine.   

The government guidance instructs local authorities to prioritise support for businesses that fall into four groups:   

  • Small businesses in shared offices or other flexible work spaces, for example industrial parks, science parks and incubators which do not have their own business rates assessment    
  • Regular Market Traders who do not have their own business rates assessment    
  • B&Bs which pay Council Tax instead of business rates  
  • Charity properties in receipt of charitable business rates relief which would otherwise have been eligible for Small Business Rates Relief or Rural Rate Relief.    

Businesses not in these groups and unable to access any other form of government funding are strongly encouraged to submit an expression of interest for funding for the Council to consider. This will support the council building a clear, evidence-based, picture of the need for support across Cornwall. We will continue to lobby Government for additional support beyond the £13.5million made available to us.  

Mark Duddridge, who chairs the Cornwall and Isles of Scilly Local Enterprise Partnership, said: “The extension of the discretionary grant scheme is very welcome but it also places huge pressure on this fund. There are 61,000 self-employed people in Cornwall and Scilly, which is 23% of the workforce, compared with 16% nationally.

“That’s why we have written to the Chancellor today urging him to expand the discretionary grant scheme by making funding already allocated to Local Authorities available to support even more businesses in need.”     

Mr Duddridge said the letter to Chancellor Rishi Sunak had been jointly signed by the LEP, Cornwall Chamber of Commerce, the Federation of Small Businesses, Visit Cornwall and the Islands’ Partnership on the Isles of Scilly.


Story posted 27 May 2020