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Coronavirus: Updates and information

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Coronavirus: Discretionary grant fund

Updated 19 June 2020

Applications are now invited from small and micro businesses in shared/serviced premises, Bed & Breakfasts and charities and not-for-profit organisations in Cambridge, plus market & street traders operating in the city, who have not been eligible for other Covid-19 government grant schemes and have been struggling to survive due to the Coronavirus shutdown.

Background

The government has asked councils to put in place local arrangements to distribute discretionary grants, based on its national scheme. For Cambridge, this grant fund amounts to around £1.1 million.

See the Council’s discretionary grant fund policy [PDF, 0.2MB], which sets out the local approach to grant availability, the application process and the eligibility criteria being applied in all cases to assess grant applications.

Local grant availability for eligible applicants

The City Council will make one payment per eligible applicant. Applicants with multiple premises in Cambridge will only qualify for one payment.

Here are the levels of grant available in each applicant category.

Small businesses in shared or serviced premises

Who is it for? For small businesses not paying business rates themselves but physically located in shared or serviced premises in Cambridge that are registered for business rates. (Please note that this category is NOT for small businesses run from home in Cambridge).

Annual rental payments for shared/service premises of Available grant
Below £5,000 £2,500
£5,000 or more but below £10,000 £5,000
£10,000 or more but below £51,000 £10,000

Market and street traders

Who is it for? For market and street traders with a signed licence agreement with (or street trading consent from) the City Council who were in business on 11 March 2020.

  • Available grant: £1,000 plus 10% of annual rent invoiced in 2019/20

Bed and breakfasts

Who is it for? For Bed and Breakfasts registered with the City Council’s Environmental Health service on 11 March 2020 and registered for council tax.

  • Available grant: £2,500

Charities and not-for-profit organisations

Who is it for? Either for charities and not-for-profit organisations paying business rates to the City Council (and they would meet the criteria to receive Small Business Rate Relief if they were an equivalent-sized business).

Premises with a rateable value of Available grant
Below £5,000 £2,500
£5,000 or more but below £10,000 £5,000
£10,000 or more but below £15,000 £10,000

Or for charities and not-for-profit organisations not paying business rates themselves but physically located in shared or serviced premises in Cambridge that are registered for business rates.

Annual rental payments for shared/service premises of Available grant
Below £5,000 £2,500
£5,000 or more but below £10,000 £5,000
£10,000 or more but below £15,000 £10,000

Page 4 of our discretionary grant fund policy [PDF, 0.2MB] includes a list of those who do not qualify for the local discretionary grants.

Eligibility criteria

Applications are welcomed from small businesses in shared/serviced premises, Bed & Breakfasts, charities and not-for-profit organisations in Cambridge, plus market and street traders operating in the city, who meet all the relevant eligibility criteria.

Criteria applying to all applicant categories

  1. Those eligible for other current grant schemes relating to Covid-19, such as Retail, Hospitality and Leisure Grants or the Small Business Grants, are ineligible for this discretionary grant funding. BUT those eligible for or in receipt of funding from the Job Retention Scheme or the Self-Employed Support Scheme are eligible for discretionary grants.
  2. Was operating on 11 March 2020 and intends to continue to operate. Businesses that are insolvent, in administration or subject to a striking-off notice are not eligible.
  3. Must not be a wholly owned subsidiary of another business or organisation or parts of a recognised group of companies or organisations in common ownership.
  4. With the exceptions set out in criteria 10d and 10e below: Must have a rateable value or annual rent costs or annual mortgage payments of less than £51,000.
  5. Has an annual turnover of no more than £10.2 million.
  6. Has a balance sheet total of no more than £5.1 million.
  7. Has fewer than 50 employees.
  8. Has relatively high on-going fixed property-related costs (as well as rental or mortgage costs, this can include storage, pitch rental or mooring fees, if applicable).
  9. Able to demonstrate a significant fall in income as a result of the Covid-19 shutdown. (For charities and not-for-profit organisations, this might include a significant reduction in fund-raising opportunities).

Criteria applying to particular applicant categories

    1. Market Traders must have been licensed with Cambridge City Council on 11 March 2020 and must continue to be licensed now.
    2. Street Traders must have had signed consents with the City Council on 11 March 2020 and must continue to have such consents now.
    3. Bed & Breakfasts must have been registered with the City Council’s Environmental Health service on 11 March 2020 and must continue to be registered now.
    4. Tenants in shared or serviced premises (whether small businesses or charities or not-for-profit organisations) do not have their own business rate account with the Cambridge City Council
    5. The costs incurred by charities and not-for-profit organisations (either expressed as a rateable value for their premises or as an annual rental payment for shared/serviced premises) must be less than £15,000

How to apply

Applicants will need to complete our online application form and upload the evidence required. Please make sure you have all the relevant evidence needed ready to upload before submitting your application.

Any incomplete applications will be rejected: these applicants will need to reapply with the necessary information and join the end of the queue.

Apply for a local authority discretionary grant

We are asking applicants to supply the information needed to substantiate their grant applications in three ways.

Self-certification

  • ‘Yes/No’ answers on the application form to confirm compliance with criteria 1-7.
  • Written statements in the application form, detailing on-going fixed property related costs and why and how applicants have suffered a significant fall in income as a result of the Covid-19 shutdown (related to criteria 8 and 9).

Providing relevant registration and account reference numbers

This will enable the Council to:

  • access relevant account information held by the City Council itself (e.g. rateable values and B&B registrations with Environmental Health) in relation to criteria 10; and
  • verify self-certification answers with other sources of information (e.g., Companies House, Charity Commission and VAT registration).

Electronic copies of relevant documents

Applicants are asked to submit electronically (as scanned copies) the following documents as part of their online applications.

  • Business or charity bank account statement for the period covering 11 March 2020, including details of the account name, sort code and bank account number. Important: The account name should match the name of the business/organisation applying.
  • Proof of the business/organisation’s operation (e.g., most recent statement of accounts OR a self-assessment tax return [as appropriate] OR Articles of Association OR Governing Document).
  • Proof of agreements relating to fixed costs (e.g., tenancy agreement or mortgage agreement relating to the business/organisation applying).

For more details, see pages 8-9 of our discretionary grant fund policy [PDF, 0.2MB].

How we will assess applications

Applications will be assessed against the relevant eligibility criteria. Only those that meet all these criteria will be successful.

Complete applications will be assessed within 7 to 10 working days of receipt (including processing of payments in the case of successful applications).

Whilst payments will be made on a ‘first come, first served’ basis, care will be taken to ensure all applicant categories receive a reasonable share of the overall grant funding available.

Applications can be received and determined at any time until all available funding has been paid. Once this has happened, the local Discretionary Grant Fund will close. Any applications that are incomplete or have not yet completed the assessment stage at that point will not qualify for grant funding.

Further information about the assessment process, including the Council’s approach to preventing fraud can be found on page 5 of our discretionary grant fund policy [PDF, 0.2MB].

If contacting us by email, please quote the grant application number, if you have one.