The Government is to make up to £617m available to local authorities in England to support small businesses through the Local Authority Discretionary Grant.

The fund is for business faced with ongoing fixed property-related costs during the coronavirus pandemic, when they may have been forced to close or restrict their activity.

The intended beneficiaries are businesses that pay council tax rather than business rates, and so have missed out on other support.

The Government is asking local authorities to prioritise certain businesses, including regular market traders, businesses in shared spaces and small charity properties. However, councils are free to make payments to other businesses based on local economic need, says our Workforce Lead Kris Ambler.

Kris said ‘This funding could make a huge difference to many of our members, especially those charities and community organisations that provide vital grass roots services to some of the most vulnerable clients.”

To qualify, businesses must be small, under 50 employees, and they must also be able to demonstrate they’ve seen a significant drop of income due to coronavirus restriction measures.

There will be three levels of grant payments. The maximum is set at £25,000, and there will also be grants of £10,000. Local authorities will have discretion to make payments of any amount under £10,000.

The fund was announced on May 1 and guidance is available here.

For more information or support visit our Coronavirus Business FAQs