Businesses urged to apply for Coronavirus support grants - Deadline Approaching


August 10, 2020

The number of businesses that are eligible for discretionary grants of £2,000 has been increased, meaning many more can now get vital cash to help them cope with the continuing effects of the coronavirus pandemic.

But with the scheme, along with other Government grant funding, due to end on August 28, businesses are being urged to apply now or risk losing out.

The council has so far paid out around £30million to businesses through three grant schemes; the Small Business Grants Fund, the Retail, Hospitality and Leisure Business Grants Fund, and the Discretionary Grant Fund.

Around £3.9million is still available for eligible businesses in the first two of these funds which, unless it is applied for, will have to be returned to the Government.

The Local Government Association is leading calls for any underspend in the small business & retail and hospitality grants to be retained locally and transferred into the discretionary grant scheme, a position supported by the city council.

Councillor Tim Hamilton-Cox, Cabinet member with responsibility for sustainable economic prosperity, explained: “There has been an excellent take-up of the discretionary grant scheme: demand has been high and we hope that more businesses will benefit now with eligibility extended. 

“But we realise  that there simply isn’t enough money to go around and make up for the losses many have suffered due to coronavirus. And despite the widening of the criteria there are still many businesses that are set to miss out. For those that have been successful, £2,000 is often simply not enough.

“At the same time there are millions unspent from the original grant schemes which, as it stands, will have to go back to the Government if they have not been claimed, but could be used to sustain and support the local economy.

“We need to retain this money locally so we can provide it to businesses and help them to successfully recover from coronavirus. That’s why we’re calling on the Government to transfer any underspend from the other two grant streams into the discretionary scheme and give us more time and flexibility to ensure it reaches those most in need.”

The criteria for the discretionary grant scheme has been extended to the following businesses:

•       Vehicle-based businesses e.g. taxis, ice cream vans, driving instruction vehicles
•       Ofsted registered nurseries
•       Non-public sector businesses with a rateable value of £15,001 - £51,000
•       Businesses that are still unable to re-open due to Covid-19 Government enforced restrictions post 4th July 2020

For more information and to apply, visit www.lancaster.gov.uk/discretionary-grants.

Grants from the Small Business Grants Fund, the Retail, Hospitality and Leisure Business Grants Fund are also still available. More details on eligibility, and how to apply, can be found at www.Lancaster.gov.uk/coronavirus.

The closing date for all the grant schemes is August 28.