Hull Business Discretionary Grant Fund

In response to Coronavirus (COVID-19), the Government has announced measures to support businesses.

A discretionary fund has been set up to accommodate certain small businesses/charities previously not eligible for the Small Business Grants Fund (SBGF) and the Retail, Hospitality and Leisure Grants Fund (RHLGF). Hull City Council is managing this fund within the city boundary.

Grants are capped at £25,000 nationally. Hull City Council has chosen to award the grant at a maximum level of £10,000 to maximise the number of eligible businesses who would receive a grant.  We can also make awards of any amount under £10,000. We expect that payments under £10,000 will be appropriate in many cases.

There are limited funds available for the Hull Business Discretionary Grant Fund. Micro, small businesses and charities with low turnovers, staff numbers and fixed costs will receive a grant of under £10,000 unless there is a compelling case to pay more. There is no automatic right to a grant, this is a discretionary scheme. Grant awards and levels will be determined in a fair and transparent manner based on both national and local criteria detailed below. 

Information you supply will be kept confidential.  Data will be retained so that we can undertake regular reporting to Government (BEIS department). 

Applications to the council are invited from businesses which meet the national and local criteria.  Please also note the exclusions detailed below.

National & Local Criteria

This discretionary fund is aimed at small businesses with ongoing fixed property-related costs.

The grant will prioritise –

  • businesses in shared spaces or other flexible workspaces without their own business rates assessment (eg. units in industrial parks, business centres and incubators) Please note: this does not mean businesses based or operating from domestic premises which are generally ineligible
  • regular market traders with fixed on going property costs, who do not have their own business rates assessment at the market(s) they trade from
  • small charity properties in receipt of charitable business rates relief which would otherwise have been eligible for Small Business Rates Relief
  • bed and breakfasts that are liable for Council Tax rather than Business Rates

All applicants must be able to demonstrate they have on-going property costs

It is expected that the total funding available for this scheme, will largely be allocated to businesses within these priority areas.  Any residual funding will be used to support other businesses which were not eligible for the Small Business Grant Fund or the Retail, Hospitality and Leisure Grants Fund.  Applications will need to meet the national and local criteria. 

Other categories we will consider applications from -

  1. businesses who were reliant on the retail, hospitality and leisure industry, but which are not eligible under the current scheme (RHLGF)
  2. businesses with a rateable value above £15,000 but which are outside the retail, leisure and hospitality sectors
  3. small businesses who are unable to access the Small Business Grant fund because they occupy a second property, taking them outside eligibility
  4. businesses with rateable values marginally above £51,000
  5. small businesses and freelancers working in the City’s Creative Industries – must be a resident of Hull

Due to limited funding, priority will be given to those businesses/charities that -

  • show the highest impact of the grant being used in terms of meeting fixed costs, the financial need of the business and overall value for money
  • have the highest future growth prospects
  • have the greatest number of jobs being safeguarded and chances of recovery/bouncing back

Grant awards will largely be proportional to the scale and size of the business, taking into account turnover, job numbers and the level of fixed costs.  Small businesses with few employees, low fixed costs and turnover levels below the VAT threshold are likely to receive grants of under £10,000, if successful. 

The grant is primarily and predominantly aimed at - 

  • small and micro businesses, as defined in Section 33 Part 2 of the Small Business, Enterprise and Employment Act 2015 and the Companies Act 2006 (see below)
  • businesses/charities with relatively high ongoing fixed property related costs (e.g. rent, mortgage, rates, utilities etc)
  • businesses/charities which occupy property, or part of a property, with a total property rateable value or annual rent or annual mortgage payments below £51,000

To be a small business, you must employ less than 50 staff and satisfy one or both of the following requirements in a year –

  • turnover – not more than £10.2 million
  • balance sheet total – not more than £5.1 million

If your business has multiple premises, the combined level must be below £51,000.  Your business must also be based within the City of Hull and have been trading on or before 11th March 2020 and still be trading.  You must also be able to demonstrate that you have seen a significant drop of income due to the COVID-19 crisis (management accounts, income statements).

Apply

You can apply for the Hull Business Discretionary Grant online. 

Each application will be subject to eligibility checks and you may be required to provide additional information upon request.  We will pay successful businesses directly via the bank details supplied. 

We aim to process applications as quickly as possible.  We expect to receive a high volume of applications and would request that you refrain from contacting us unless absolutely necessary.  Any enquiries should be made to business.support@hullcc.gov.uk

This scheme is limited to one grant per business. If you own multiple businesses with low turnover, staff numbers and fixed costs, we will limit the grant to one business, unless there is a compelling argument.

Exclusions

Businesses or individuals are not eligible for the Discretionary Grant Fund if they -

  • are eligible for the Small Business Grant Fund or Retail, Hospitality and Leisure Grant Fund
  • have more than 49 employees
  • do not have fixed property related costs (this will include majority of businesses operating from home/residential properties)
  • are based outside the City of Hull
  • are a company in difficulties falling within the UK State Aid 'Undertakings in Difficulties' definition -
  1. Agriculture Sector: Article 2(14) of the Commission Regulation (EU) No 702/2014
  2. Fisheries Sector: Article 3(5) of the Commission Regulation (EU) No 1388/2014
  3. All other sectors: Article 2(18) of the Commission Regulation (EU) no 651/2014
  • were not trading on or before 11 March 2020
  • have been dissolved, are in liquidation or administration, are insolvent or where a striking-off notice has been made.
  • have a rateable value, rent or mortgage of £51,000 or over, except in exceptional circumstances. Any application from a business in this category must be supported by a compelling argument
  • financial services (e.g. banks, building societies, cash points, bureaux de change, short-term loan providers)
  • medical services (e.g. vets, dentists, doctors, osteopaths, chiropractors)
  • professional services (e.g. solicitors, accountants, insurance agents/ financial advisers)
  • post office sorting offices
  • property related businesses that include    

                  buy to let businesses 
                  property refurbishment projects 
                  residential/commercial landlord businesses 
                  property developers 

Additional Information

State Aid

Under State Aid rules grant payments under the scheme can be provided under existing De Minimis rules, provided doing so does not exceed the €200,000 (£175,000) limit over 3 years. If this threshold has been reached payments can still be made under the COVID-19 Temporary Framework for UK Authorities subject to €800,000 limit (£700,000).  You must complete the declaration within the application form.

Undertakings in Difficulty

All enterprises will need to confirm that the business was not in difficulty as of the 31 December 2019 (prior to the impact of COVID-19) as set out in the definition of an 'Undertakings in Difficulty' in UK State Aid rules.  You must complete the declaration within the application form. 

Tax

Grant income received by a business is taxable therefore funding paid under the scheme will be subject to tax. 

Managing the risk of fraud

Government will not accept deliberate manipulation and fraud and any business caught falsifying their records to gain grant money will face prosecution and any issued funding will be subject to claw back, as may grants paid in error.

Be aware at the current time there is an increased risk of fraud.  This includes risks that someone may impersonate the Council either to commit fraud against your business or to gain information allowing them to make an application for a business s grant.

There are some simple steps you can take to protect yourself - 

  1. check the email address of the sender.  Don’t click or download anything you don’t trust – for example, if you get an email from a company with a strange email address.
  2. you may be contacted by someone offering to fill out your application on your behalf, this is unnecessary.  The process is designed to be simple and does not require specialist support.  You are in the best position to make your application.  If you need any assistance, please email business.support@hullcc.gov.uk

The Council is required to account for how it spends public funds. As such the Council will likely be required to publish or disclose upon request details of any amounts paid to you in respect of this application.  This will be necessary to meet the Council’s Transparency obligations and the requirements of the Freedom of Information Act 2000.