Latest Business Support Guidance – Discretionary ‘Top-Up’ Fund update and more

As we have said before in previous updates, in times like these, we cannot emphasise enough the importance of communication. We have a specific focus on maintaining effective communication with our clients, and all in Cornwall and the Isles of Scilly, getting information to you that will help you and your business in these uncertain times.

This is our latest update.

Grants to small businesses and retail, hospitality and leisure businesses – Discretionary ‘Top-Up’ Grant Funding

We have previously commented on the discretionary fund that has been announced and been designed to provide grant funding of the type previously announced for small businesses retail, hospitality and leisure businesses.

The discretionary fund is to assist businesses who had previously not been eligible for these two grant schemes.

The government announcement can be found here.

More detail has now been released by both the government and the local authorities.

The guidance issued by the government to the various local authorities can be found here.

The guidance issued by:

  • Cornwall Council – can be found here; and
  • Council of the Isles of Scilly can be found here.

Cornwall Council

Cornwall Council advise that to ensure that grants are distributed as quickly as possible, standard grants of £10,000 will be available. Unless there is a very specific case for it, a standard £10,000 grant will be made available to all.

If you own more than one business, you can apply for each business that is eligible.There is prioritised support for businesses that fall into the following four groups. If your business falls into one of these groups, Cornwall Council advise submitting an application form (found in the link to the relevant page on their website above).

  • Small businesses in shared offices or other flexible workspaces. Examples could include units in industrial parks, 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 & Breakfasts which pay Council Tax instead of business rates, where the Bed and Breakfast business is the main income/occupation of the business owner. Grants will not be made available to individuals who occasionally rent out a room or their property through platforms such as AirBnB;
  • Charity properties in receipt of charitable business rates relief which would otherwise have been eligible for Small Business Rates Relief or Rural Rate Relief – i.e. have a rateable value less than £15,000

If your business does not fall into one of these groups, and you are unable to access any other form of government funding, please complete the expression of interest form.

The Council’s decision on whether to offer a grant is final and there is no opportunity to appeal.

Council of the Isles of Scilly

The guidance issued is limited, however, the Council of the Isles of Scilly advise that they expect to release further eligibility criteria on or before 1 June 2020.

For now, businesses are invited to apply before midnight on 31 May 2020 here.

What we suggest

We have had many clients contact us that have not been eligible for the grants to small businesses and retail, hospitality and leisure businesses.

One prime example are furnished holiday let owners that were not registered for Business Rates. As the grants to small businesses and retail, hospitality and leisure businesses were based on a per property basis, we suggest making individual applications per furnished holiday let property.

For businesses in this position, we would urge you to complete either: Cornwall Council’s expression of interest form; or, the Council of the Isles of Scilly’s application – whichever is relevant given the property’s location.

Business Interruption Cover Claims

Many businesses have made claims under their business interruption cover in their relevant insurance policy for losses incurred as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Many of these business have come up against significant hurdles given many of the insurance providers’ stance in relation to such claims.

The Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) has issued some useful guidance for such businesses – this can be found here.

Cornwall Council have also issued guidance in this regard – this can be found here.

Extended Mortgage Repayment Holidays

Mortgage payment holidays have been extended to 31 October 2020.

This represents an extension to the original 3 month ‘holiday’ period announced in March, which was set to end on 30 June 2020.

Newsletters

We have added some useful newsletters to our website for the self-employed and companies around managing cash at this time.

Please find a link to these here.

Please do not hesitate to contact your usual RRL contact if you have any queries or questions around the support available.

If we can help and advise you in any way, please get in touch with your usual RRL Team member, we are working remotely to keep our staff and clients safe and our telephone contact details can be found here. We will respond to emails as usual.

Keep an eye on our website, and an eye out for future emails providing further detail as and when it is released.