21 Aug

Mel’s COVID-19 Update: 12th June 2020

Mel’s COVID-19 Update: 12th June 2020

As there have been a few changes, I thought I’d send you a COVID-19 Business update which is correct as of date of sending (12th June 2020).

Mainly I want to explain the launch of “Local Authority Discretionary Grant Funds” and also point you in the direction of extra resources available to you from HMRC to support you and your business through these tough times.

1. Apply for the Coronavirus Local Authority Discretionary Grants Fund (England)

The Discretionary Grant Fund supports small and micro businesses that are not eligible for other grant schemes opened on the 8 June.

Small and micro businesses with fixed property costs that are not eligible for the Small Business Grant Fund or the Retail, Hospitality and Leisure Grant Fund may be eligible for the Discretionary Grants Scheme.

What you get

You can get a grant of £25,000, £10,000 or any amount under £10,000.


You may be eligible if your business:

  • Is based in England
  • Has relatively high ongoing fixed property-related costs
  • Occupies property (or part of a property) with a rateable value or annual mortgage/rent payments below £51,000
  • Was trading on 11 March 2020

You will need to show that your business has suffered a significant fall in income due to the Coronavirus.

Very importantly then if you sub-let your property from others or use serviced offices, you may qualify for this grant so you need to take action if this is you!

The Government has asked local councils to prioritise businesses such as:

  • Small businesses in shared offices or other flexible workspaces, such as units in industrial parks or incubators
  • Regular market traders
  • Bed and breakfasts paying council tax instead of business rates
  • Charity properties getting charitable business rates relief, which are not eligible for small business rates relief or rural rate relief

Local councils have discretion about how to prioritise this funding. Please check with your council for details of their scheme.

You cannot apply if your business is in administration, insolvent or has received a striking-off notice.

If you are already claiming funding:

You cannot apply if you are already claiming under another government grant scheme, such as:

  • Small Business Grant Fund
  • Retail, Hospitality and Leisure Grant
  • Fisheries Response Fund
  • Domestic Seafood Supply Scheme
  • Zoos Support Fund
  • Dairy Hardship Fund

Businesses that apply for the discretionary grants scheme can still apply for Coronavirus-related loans if they are eligible.

You are still eligible if you have applied for the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme or the Self-Employed Income Support Scheme.

If you already get state aid

The discretionary grants fund counts towards state aid.

Payments of £10,000 or less count towards the total de minimis state aid you are allowed to get over a 3-year period - €200,000. If you have reached that threshold, you may still be eligible for funding under the COVID-19 Temporary Framework.

Payments of £25,000 count as state aid under the COVID-19 Temporary Framework. The limit for the framework is €800,000.

Your local council will ask you to complete a declaration confirming that:

  • You will not exceed the relevant state aid threshold
  • You were not an ‘undertaking in difficulty’ on 31 December 2019. This applies only to the COVID-19 Temporary Framework

To find your local council click here.

For the full report click here.

To watch videos and register for the free webinars to learn more about the support available to help you deal with the economic impacts of Coronavirus click here.

2. High Street Shops, Department Stores and Shopping Centres to Reopen (England)

Shops in England selling non-essential goods will be able to reopen from Monday 15 June. High street retailers and department stores, including book shops, electronics retailers, tailors, auction houses, photography studios, indoor markets, and shops selling clothes, shoes and toys, will be allowed to open their doors again provided they follow the COVID-19 secure guidelines set out by the government in May.

Retailers will need to take certain steps to protect customers and staff, including limiting the number of customers allowed inside at one time, placing protective coverings on large items such as sofas which may be touched by passing shoppers, and frequently checking and cleaning objects and surfaces.

Employers should also display a notice visibly in their shop windows or outside their store to show their employees, customers and other visitors that they have followed this guidance. In summary:

  • All non-essential retail shops to reopen in England from Monday 15 June, provided they follow government guidelines to keep staff and customers as safe as possible
  • The government issued detailed COVID-19 secure guidance for retailers and other sectors in May, following extensive consultation with businesses, trade unions and devolved administrations
  • Businesses should display a downloadable notice to inform customers and staff they have followed COVID-secure guidance

See more here.

3. Parents Returning to Work After Extended Leave Eligible for Furlough

People on paternity and maternity leave who return to work in the coming months will be eligible for the government’s furlough scheme.

To summarise:

  • Parents on statutory maternity and paternity leave who return to work in the coming months will be eligible for furlough scheme even after the 10 June cut-off date
  • Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme will close to new entrants at the end of June as new flexibilities are introduced to support economy
  • This will only apply where they work for an employer who has previously furloughed employees
  • This also applies to people on adoption leave, shared parental leave, and parental bereavement leave.

See more here.

Throughout the COVID-19 pandemic I've been running a series of FREE webinars to help businesses across a range of topics. My next one is on Wednesday 17th June and I'll be helping you to ensure that you're still getting paid for your work during this challenging time. (As this webinar has now passed please message me if you’d like a copy of the recording).

Please pass this information on to your family and friends that have businesses, I want to help as many businesses that I can.

I am also very active across social media and am regularly posting updates to help you navigate through this time. If you don't already follow us please take a look at our platforms below:

I also have a closed group on Facebook dedicated to those who are passionate about running successful businesses. It's a hub for businesses to share their experiences, hints and tips. If you would like to join, sign up here.

As ever please reach out if we can help you in any way possible. If you are considering applying for loans we can put you in touch with people who can help you. If you are confused by the government support just reach out and we will help you.

Above all though take care of yourself and your family and let’s hope we can get back to normal soon.

During COVID-19 I want to ensure that everyone is as up to date as possible with regards to Government changes and support that impacts businesses.

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