Discretionary Grants for Small Businesses

business support

Alert

UPDATE: New grant categories added

We are pleased to announce that we have now expanded the eligibility criteria for Discretionary Grants so that the following businesses can now apply: 

  • Larger hospitality and leisure businesses 

  • Larger charities  

  • Community interest companies  

  • Larger suppliers to the retail, hospitality and leisure sectors 

  • Cafes based within the borough’s parks. 

  • Casual market traders. 

Full details of the eligibility criteria are given below. Those businesses that fit the original criteria are still able to apply and the window for all grants will remain open until the funding has run out 

Who are Discretionary Grants for?   

In line with Government guidance, grants are prioritised for certain eligible businesses groups. 

Grants of up to £25,000 can now be claimed by certain Waltham Forest small businesses that have been affected by the Coronavirus. 

Grants are available to: 

  • Businesses using shared workspaces; 

  • Council licensed, permanent market traders; 

  • Council licensed, casual traders 

  • Charities with a business rates assessment s of any size below £15,000; 

  • Community interest companies with a business rates assessments of any size; 

  • Suppliers hardest hit by the closure of the retail, hospitality and leisure sectors;  

  • Community cafes based in borough parks; and 

  • Bed and breakfasts paying council tax. 

Am I eligible for a Discretionary Grant?  

There are criteria that each applicant must meet. Some of these criteria apply to all applicants and other criteria apply based on which business group the applicant falls within. 

In the event a business falls within two or more of these groups, the highest value grant will apply. 

Universal criteria that applies to all applicants 

  • Businesses with ongoing fixed property-related costs.
     
  • Businesses that can demonstrate that they have suffered a significant fall in income (over 50%) due to the COVID19 crisis.  
  • Businesses with a balance sheet of not more than £5.1m.

  • Businesses with a turnover of less than £10.2m per year. 

  • Businesses with a staff headcount of fewer than 50. 

  • Businesses that were trading on 11 March 2020 and are still trading (i.e. solvent, not in administration). 

  • An application must meet these criteria and the criteria below that relates to their situation.

Hospitality and Leisure

To be eligible for a grant, the business must be wholly or predominantly in a hospitality or leisure sector that was required to close by the Government on 23 March. For the avoidance of doubt this excludes all retail. 

As well as meeting the universal eligibility criteria above, to be eligible for a grant, the business must have premises with a rateable value greater than £51,000 and up to £100,000. 

Businesses operating from more than 5 business rated premises are not eligible for a grant.

Businesses that have already benefited from a Council rent holiday are not eligible for this grant. 

A single grant tier of £25,000 is available for those businesses which qualify.  

Businesses in shared offices or other flexible workspaces 

You must be using a commercial space where an all-inclusive rent, license or similar fee is paid and the business does not have a direct business rates liability. 

The business must be non-transient and exclusively using the workspace, with liabilities for occupancy (lease, license, contract etc) of at least four weeks, inclusive of 11 March 2020. 

Such spaces include: co-working offices; maker spaces; business incubators; artist studios and other flexible workspaces. 

Offices or workspaces within domestic dwellings (e.g. home offices); self-storage units; virtual offices and post boxes; and short-term hall/venue hire are not considered an ongoing fixed property-related cost. 

Businesses that have already benefited directly from a Council rent holiday are not eligible for this grant. 

Grant amounts are calculated on the basis of fixed property costs.  

Band 

Annual fixed property cost 

Grant 

> £11,000 

£7,500 

£6, 001 - £11,000 

£4,435 

£3,251 - £6,000 

£2,530 

Up to £3,250 

£1,170 

For example, a business with annual rent of £7,500 will be in ‘Band B’ and will be considered for a grant of £4,435. 

Market traders

To be eligible for a grant you must be either: 

  • a permanent trader; or  

  • a casual trader that has been trading in Waltham Forest 3 days or more per week (on average), over at least a 12 month period prior to March 2020

You must also be directly licensed by the Council’s Street Trading Team, (e.g. permanent Walthamstow Market trader, forecourt trader) and have no more than two months fees in arrears. 

Those trading from third party markets, either licensed by the Council or managed privately, are not eligible for a grant.  

Grant amounts are calculated on the basis of fixed property costs of pitch and Council storage fees.   

Band 

Annual fixed fees 

Grant 

> £7,000 

£4,700 

£5,600 - £6,999 

£3,000 

£3,150 - £5,599 

£1,970 

< £3,150 

£1,080 

For example, a trader with pitch and storage fees of £6,000 will be in ‘Band B’ and will be considered for a grant of £3,000. 

Supplier Businesses 

To be eligible for a grant, the business must wholly or predominantly rely on sales of goods or services to businesses required to close by the Government on 23 March. 

In order to support those businesses needing the most assistance, businesses must be able to demonstrate they have suffered a severe loss of income (over 65%) due to the Covid-19 crisis. 

As well as meeting the universal eligibility criteria above, to be eligible for a grant, the business must have premises with a rateable value greater than £15,000 and lower than £100,000. 

Businesses that have already benefited from a Council rent holiday are not eligible for this grant. 

Grant tiers 

  • £5,000 is available for those businesses with a rateable value of £15,001 to £51,000
  • £10,000 is available for those businesses with a rateable value of £51,001 to £100,000. 

Charities

To be eligible for a grant charities must occupy a commercial property that has a rateable value below £100,000 and have been in receipt of Mandatory (charitable) Rate Relief. 

Charities that have already benefited from a Council rent holiday are not eligible for this grant. 

Grant tiers 

  • £5,000 is available for those charities with a rateable value of up to £15,000. 

  • £10,000 is available for those charities with a rateable value of £15,001 to £51,000. 

  • £25,000 is available for those charities with a rateable value of £51,001 to £100,000. 

Community Interest Companies (CIC) 

To be eligible for a grant the applicant must be registered with Companies House as a CIC and must occupy a commercial property that has a rateable value below £100,000. 

CICs that have already benefited from a Council rent holiday are not eligible for this grant.  

Grant tiers 

  • £5,000 is available for those CICs with a rateable value of up to £15,000. 

  • £10,000 is available for those CICs with a rateable value of £15,001 to £51,000. 

  • £25,000 is available for those CICs with a rateable value of £51,001 to £100,000. 

Community cafes within borough parks 

To be eligible for a grant the applicant must have a lease or license with the Council to operate a café from a Council park. 

A single grant tier of £5,000 is available for those Cafes which qualify.  

Bed & Breakfasts

To be eligible for a grant the premises must be registered for Council tax and not business rates. 

The premises must be wholly or mainly used as guest or boarding premises, providing at least one meal per day,  within the price. 

Spare room, short-term lets, Houses of Multiple Occupation and ‘Air BnB’ style accommodation do not qualify for a grant. 

A single grant tier of £5,000 is available for those Bed and Breakfasts which qualify. 

Businesses not eligible for a grant

Regardless of an applicant being able to meet the criteria above, businesses will not be eligible for a grant if any of the following apply: 

  • Businesses eligible for / have been paid a Small Business Grant of £10,000 

  • Business eligible for / have been paid a Retail, Hospitality and Leisure grant of £10,000 or £25,000

  • Businesses which have received cash grants from any central government Covid-19 related scheme (excluding: Self-Employment Income Support Scheme and Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme).

  • Organisations in administration, are insolvent, or where a striking-off notice has been made.

  • Organisations that do not occupy commercial property (i.e. you work from a home office)

  • Where the applicant is claiming self-storage units; virtual offices and post boxes; and short-term hall/venue hire as an ongoing fixed property-related cost.
  • Businesses that have exceeded state aid limits are not eligible for the scheme, i.e. have not received more than €200,000 in Government funds / support over the last three years.

  • Businesses with significant reserves.

  • Businesses that do not pay all, or the bulk of business taxes in the UK, such as those with offshore accounts.

Ineligible businesses may be able to access other government support.  

How to apply 

Businesses must apply to the Council with information about their business and evidence relating to the eligibility criteria.   

Please ensure you understand and meet the eligibility criteria below before submitting an application. We will not be able to seek clarifications or additional information from an applicant.  

Evidence required 

When you submit an application, you will be required to provide documentary evidence that the business meets the criteria, e.g. 

  • Copies of your personal identification: a passport, national ID card or driving license.
  • Copies of your latest rent or membership invoice.  
  • Copy of your current lease.
  • Copies of bank statements including your most recent statement. 
  • Documents or evidence that prove the significant reduction in income your business, which must include your last three years of annual accounts. Previous years business accounts also help prove your eligibility by turnover and profit. They also demonstrate the financial loss your business has suffered since lockdown/Covid-19. However, if you have not filed recent accounts, previous accounts may not show the businesses’ true financial situation pre Covid. In this case, please provide additional evidence, such as VAT returns or bank statements from January, March and February 2020, in addition to draft management accounts. 
  • Evidence that your business is still trading, such as recent invoices, marketing evidence, or social media posts 

Every application and its supporting evidence will be rigorously checked for eligibility. Speculative, false or fraudulent applications will be rejected.  

Hundreds of grants are available and we expect a large number of applications. Unfortunately we do not have the resources to seek any clarifications from applicants so incomplete applications without clear evidence will be rejected. 

Therefore, incomplete applications and applications without clear evidence will be rejected.

A new application will then be necessary and the Council accepts no liability for subsequent applications being turned down, if the application process has closed in ther intervening time.

It is critical that you understand the  criteria and guidance above before submitting the application form. 

Complete the Application Form

Important notes 

  • Only one grant per business will be paid, regardless of number of premises (with the exception of market traders)
  • Grants will be awarded to businesses that meet all the criteria on a first come, first served basis. 
  • Applications close when all grants have been awarded.
  • Submitting an application and meeting the criteria set out below does not guarantee approval of a grant. 
  • It may take 15 working days or more to process an application and a grant to be paid. 
  • There will be no appeals process. 

The Council may without notice amend the eligibility criteria and invite other business types to apply for grants. 

Important: Beware of scammers  

Please beware of third parties offering to act on your behalf for a fee. The grant application process is free, straightforward and only requires you to provide information already available to you. Businesses should not need to pay third parties to access a grant. 

Scam emails are also being sent to businesses, falsely claiming to be from the Council, saying that businesses have been paid grants in error and they need to returned and include bank details for payments to be made. These emails should be ignored. 

What happens after I've submitted my details? 

Using the information provided by you, we will carry out due diligence checks and review the evidence that you submitted to ensure your business qualifies. 

How long will it take to pay a grant? 

We aim to complete due diligence within ten working days and you should allow at least an additional five working days for the banks to process payment. 

It is not possible to provide a precise turnaround time for payment as this is dependent on factors such as the backlog of submissions and the complexities of some businesses in relation to the eligibility criteria. 

Payments will be made to those who qualify by BACS. We will also write to you by email, stating the reasons, if your business does not qualify. 

Who should I contact if I haven’t heard about my grant? 

We expect to receive a high number of enquiries asking for updates and we recognise how vital these grants are to you – however we have limited capacity to respond to update requests, which takes focus away from processing grants.

Unless it has been more than 15 working days since your application, we will not be able to provide you with an update on the status of your application.

If it is more than 15 days since you have applied for a grant, or if you have other queries about the Discretionary Grant, please contact us through this online form.