Coronavirus Local Discretionary Grant Scheme

In response to the Coronavirus (COVID-19) the Government announced there would be support for small businesses, and businesses in the retail, hospitality and leisure sectors. The Local Discretionary Grant Scheme is an additional fund to the Small Business Grant Fund and the Retail, Leisure and Hospitality Grant Fund, aimed at small businesses not eligible for those funds which have relatively high ongoing property costs, and which can demonstrate they have suffered a significant fall in income due to the COVID-19 crisis.

The Council received confirmation on 20 May 2020 of the exact amount of funding available under this scheme. This has now been confirmed at £4,287,250. Following the latest Government guidance, received this week, on the criteria which local government should consider as they manage the Discretionary Grants Fund, Cheshire East Council opened Phase 1 of the Local Discretionary Grant Scheme on Monday 1 June 2020 at 8am.

Phase 1 – Monday 1 June 2020

As limited funds are being made available for grants under this scheme and the Government has asked for certain types of business to be prioritised, the Council will administer a phased approach. In the first phase the scheme will be opened only to the following types of businesses:

  • Small businesses in shared offices or other flexible workspaces. Examples could include units in industrial parks, food halls, science parks and incubators which do not have their own business rates assessment
  • Regular market traders with fixed building costs, such as rent, who do not have their own business rates assessment
  • Bed and Breakfasts which pay Council Tax instead of business rates; and
  • Charity properties in receipt of charitable business rates relief which would otherwise have been eligible for Small Business Rates Relief or Rural Rate Relief. 

Deadline for Phase 1 applications

The deadline for Phase 1 applications will be 14 calendar days after the scheme opens. Phase 1 will therefore close at 8am on 15 June 2020. If any further phases are opened, deadlines and any revised criteria will be clearly set out on the Councils website. Applications outside the advertised windows will not be considered. 

All applications submitted within this phase with adequate supporting information will be considered in order of receipt, and grants awarded subject to funds remaining. Only one application will be accepted per business. Funds will not be set aside for applications submitted without adequate supporting information pending the receipt of further information. If the fund is oversubscribed, the Council reserves the right to amend the grant levels to a pro-rata basis, based on the applications received and approved. The Council will only issue grants to the value of the fund.

There will be 5 levels of grants awarded:

  • £2,500 
  • £5,000
  • £7,500
  • £10,000
  • £25,000 

The level of grant awarded will be proportionate to the level of demonstrated ongoing property costs for the business, with impact on income due to COVID-19 taken into account. The £25,000 grants will be limited to the Retail, Hospitality and Leisure sectors to align with the Small Business Grant Fund and the Retail, Leisure and Hospitality Grant Fund. 

After the Council has determined all valid applications from the first phase, if sufficient funds remain from the £4,287,250 allocated, the Council may offer future phases of grant funding, potentially opening the scheme to a wider range of businesses. In later phases the Council may amend the assessment criteria to enable other factors, such as employee numbers, sector etc. to be considered and weighted in determining grants to be awarded. 

Eligibility and How To Apply

Before applying, please read the Council’s Local Discretionary Grant Scheme Policy (PDF, 368.9 KB)

To be eligible for the scheme, a business must demonstrate that:

  • It is trading from business premises in Cheshire East
  • It has relatively high ongoing fixed property-related costs
  • It has had a significant drop in income due to COVID-19.

In addition to demonstrating the above, a business must self certify that:

  • It was trading on 11 March 2020
  • It is a small business, with fewer than 50 employees
  • It is not in administration, insolvent and no striking-off notice has been served relating to it
  • It is not eligible for any other central Government cash grant scheme, such as:
    • Small Business Grant Fund
    • Retail, Hospitality and Leisure Grant
    • The Fisheries Response Fund
    • Domestic Seafood Supply Scheme
    • The Zoos Support Fund
    • The Dairy Hardship Fund
  • In receiving the grant it would comply with State Aid requirements
  • It occupies property, or part of a property, with:
    • a rateable value of below £51,000 or
    • annual rent below £51,000 or
    • annual mortgage payments below £51,000.
  • Businesses which have applied for the Self-employment Income Support Scheme or Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme are not excluded from eligibility for this scheme
  • Businesses will need to demonstrate the level of fixed ongoing property related costs by submission of copies of leases/agreements showing an obligation to pay, mortgage agreements, insurance documents etc. as well as bank statements covering the period March - May 2020 with relevant expenditure identified. Where businesses have premises in Cheshire East and in addition premises in other boroughs, only property costs relating to property in Cheshire East will be taken into account
  • Businesses will need to demonstrate a significant loss of income as a result of COVID-19. This is likely to be in the form of filed accounts for previous years and detailed management accounts and bank statements for the current year.

Before starting your application you will need:

  • Proof of ID (e.g. Passport or Driving Licence)
  • VAT registration number (if applicable)
  • Company registration number (if applicable)
  • Charity registration number (if applicable)
  • Business bank sort code
  • Business bank account number
  • Business bank account name
  • Latest set of detailed Management Accounts (For businesses who do not have management accounts, you will need to send latest tax returns, or an opening statement from an accountant that includes expected income and operating expenses).
  • Business bank statements for the last 6 months (November to May)
  • Evidence relating to ongoing property related and other business costs (e.g. lease, rental or mortgage agreement, loan payment agreements).

Please note: The intention is that the grant application process is sufficiently simple to allow a business to apply without having to use any agent who may charge for such a service. Applications from intermediaries will not be accepted unless supported by a written, signed request from the Business. Use of an intermediary is discouraged, as this could reduce the amount ultimately benefitting the affected business.

Apply for a Cheshire East Local Discretionary Grant