A new Government Discretionary Grant aimed at supporting small and micro businesses launches on 1 June across Devon and will be administered in the North Devon district by North Devon Council.

Following further Government announcements North Devon Council has quickly organised to launch an additional package of funding aimed at helping small and micro businesses. Importantly, this includes all those that have not been eligible for the self‐employed income support scheme or any other grant, with the exception of the self‐employed income support scheme or the furloughed Job Retention Scheme, and who were trading on 11 March 2020.

Leader for North Devon Council, Cllr David Worden says: "This has been an extremely testing time for many of the district's small business owners, especially those who found they were not eligible for financial support outside of the Government's furlough scheme. We are grateful to our officers, who have been working extremely hard in preparation to administer this new discretionary grant in a very narrow time frame. We're pleased that we'll be in a position to take applications for the grant from 1 June."

One of the key criteria for eligibility are businesses who have high ongoing fixed property related costs and who can show that they have suffered a major fall in income due to the COVID‐19 crisis.

Grants will range from £1,000 to £25,000 with all businesses required to meet the same evidence based tests of need. The following business types will be prioritised for funding support, in line with government requirements:

  • small businesses in shared offices or other flexible workspaces
  • 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

Each local council also has the discretion to extend their grants to business sectors in their area which they feel need additional support in the interim. The local priority sectors for the North Devon district are:

  • manufacturing
  • food and Drink
  • creative Industries – including digital
  • businesses who operate in, or whose main or sole customer base is those in retail, hospitality or leisure

Those not eligible for funding under this scheme include:

  • businesses who were not trading on 11 March 2020
  • businesses currently in administration or insolvent
  • businesses eligible for other Government funding schemes