Eligible businesses can now apply for a grant of £10k or £25k from the Government’s discretionary business support fund.

Cornwall has been allocated £13.5 million by the Government to fund discretionary business support grants.

The Government has 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 including the Self-Employment Income Support Scheme.

Grant of £10k are available. Only in very exceptional circumstances will larger grants of up to £25k be considered, 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. The Council says this will support it building a clear, evidence-based, picture of the need for support across Cornwall.

Tim Dwelly, Cornwall Council cabinet portfolio holder for culture, economy and planning said: “We have been inundated with requests from business owners across Cornwall who have been unable to access any grants or funding and have been struggling since the shutdown. Some are suffering real hardship and facing the reality of bankruptcy.

“This is why we have introduced a policy where we can distribute this funding to as many businesses as quickly as possible. Any delay could have a devastating impact.

“While this money is welcomed, we expect that there will be more businesses who will qualify for the discretionary fund than we have funding for. We are continuing to lobby Government 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.”

Mark Duddridge, who chairs the Cornwall and Isles of Scilly Local Enterprise Partnership, added: “This extra money is very welcome and is something we raised with the Chancellor and our MPs because many businesses were falling through the gaps in existing support.

“The worry now is that there is still going to be a shortfall so we’ll be working hard to evidence demand to try and secure more lifeline funds to help businesses survive this crisis.”

Dwelly added: “We have worked as quickly as possible to agree an application process that is as simple and uncomplicated as it can possibly be but with the necessary checks and balances in place.

“We’ve been consulting with colleagues from the Chamber of Commerce, Federation of Small Businesses and the Local Enterprise Partnership on how we can best distribute these grants. We’ll continue to work with business leaders, local groups and support organisations to encourage businesses to get in touch so we can get the money out as quickly as possible to those that desperately need it.”

First payments to eligible businesses are expected to be made by early June. For more details, click here.