£1.2 million extra support for Darlington businesses

£1.2 million extra support for Darlington businesses
27 May 2020

More than £1million of additional financial support for local businesses in Darlington is now available as central Government provides extra funding aimed at small businesses.

This could mean many more local businesses being able to apply for a grant of up to £10,000 to help them survive the current trading conditions.

The application process for the Discretionary Business Grant is now open.  Further information and application details can be found at www.darlington.gov.uk/coronavirusbusiness-support

The deadline for applications is Thursday 11 June 2020.

The announcement from Government comes after more than 1,600 Darlington businesses received grants totalling £16m to support them through the coronavirus pandemic.

This new grant is aimed at small businesses that can demonstrate that they have seen a significant drop of income due to Coronavirus restriction measures. 

To be a small business, a business must satisfy two of the following requirements: turnover not more than £10.2 million; balance sheet total not more than £5.1 million or the number of employees be less than 50.

In line with the Government guidelines, the grant will initially prioritise:

  • Small businesses in shared offices or other business premises
  • Regular market traders with fixed building costs, such as rent, who do not have their own business rates assessment
  • Bed & breakfasts 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.

The Government has set some national criteria for the funds which must apply to all grants made from this fund. These grants can only go to:

• Businesses with ongoing fixed building-related costs

• Businesses which can demonstrate that they have suffered a significant fall in income due to the Covid-19 crisis

• Business with fewer than 50 employees

• Businesses that were trading on 11 March 2020

• Businesses which occupy property, or part of a property, with a rateable value or annual rent or annual mortgage payments below £51,000.

Businesses that have claimed support from the existing emergency grant schemes (except Self-Employed Income Support Scheme and Job Retention scheme), are not eligible to apply for the new Discretionary Business Grant scheme.

Once the grant process is launched there will be a two week period in which companies can apply for this grant.

Councillor Heather Scott, leader of Darlington Borough Council, said: “This is fantastic news for those businesses who, through no fault of their own, did not benefit from the initial emergency cash grants for business. Central Government has listened to their concerns and has now provided additional support to reflect their individual situations.

“Businesses operate in many different ways and we are confident that this additional fund will help to support and protect those that provide the diverse mix of business that helps to make Darlington unique.

“These are undoubtedly tough times for residents and businesses alike and we are working hard to make sure that support reaches those who need it most.”

Councillor Alan Marshall, Darlington Borough Council’s cabinet member for economy and regeneration, added: “Any local business who thinks they may qualify for this help must act quickly as this opportunity will only be available for a limited time. This means that we can act quickly to assess applications and grant funds quickly.

“I urge all local small business owners who have not already received or qualified for support to check the full list of criteria on our web pages and then apply as soon as they can.”

The closing date for applications will be Thursday 11 June 2020. After this date the council will assess the level of demand and administer the fund and amend the scheme as necessary.

It is recommended that applicants read the detailed criteria on the website at www.darlington.gov.uk/coronavirusbusiness-support. If, following this, they have queries, they can email [email protected]

The guidance from central government can be found at

https://assets.publishing.service.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/887239/Local_Authority_Discretionary_Grants_Fund_-_guidance_for_local_authorities_-_version_2.pdf