Business Grants FAQs

1. What are the grants about?

In response to COVID-19 measures introduced by Government, the Chancellor announced a range of business grants in March 2020.

This funding is being made available to help small, rural, retail, leisure and hospitality businesses with their ongoing business costs in recognition of the disruption caused by COVID-19.

The grants are funded by Government and are distributed in South Derbyshire by South Derbyshire District Council.

The grants do not need to be paid back and are designed to help businesses cope with the impact of COVID-19.

2. What businesses are eligible?

To claim a grant, a business premises must have been eligible for the following reliefs on 11 March 2020:

Small Business Grant Scheme

  • Small Business Rates Relief (SBRR) 
  • Rural Rates Relief (RRR)

Retail, Hospitality and Leisure Grant Scheme

  • Expanded Retail Discount – provided the rateable value of their premise(s) is less than £51,000

The Expanded Retail Relief Scheme has been extended to also cover bingo halls, estate agents and letting agencies. 

3. Are any businesses not eligible for the grants

Business premises that are not eligible for a grant include:

  • Premises with a rateable value of £51,000 or more.
  • Premises that are not rated/do not appear on the VOA rating list.
  • Businesses whose premises are not individually rated such as those operating out of Business Centres or Enterprise Zones.    
  • Premises that do not pay business rates.
  • Car parks and parking spaces.
  • Premises occupied for personal use only.
  • Vacant premises.
  • Businesses that as of 11 March 2020 were in liquidation or dissolved.
  • Businesses like occasional B&Bs that are not rated on the VOA rating list.~

4. What about charities, nurseries and community clubs?

Charities receiving Charitable Rate Relief can’t be eligible for Small Business Rate Relief or Rural Rate Relief and therefore cannot be eligible under the Small Business Grants Fund. They may be eligible under the Retail, Leisure and Hospitality Grants Fund. Such charities should complete the online form at www.southderbyshire.gov.uk/businessgrants and the Council will assess their case on an individual basis.

Properties falling within the Nursery scheme are not eligible for a grant, unless they were in receipt of Small Business Rate Relief or Rural Rate Relief as of 11 March 2020.

Community clubs that are eligible for Expanded Retail Discount (as a leisure provider) on 11 March 2020 are eligible for a grant.

Properties that had rate discounts increased to 100% using local discretion on 11 March 2020 will qualify for the Retail, Hospitality and Leisure grant. The same principle applies with charity shops, unless State Aid rules apply.

5. What about businesses that pay rates with their rent/shared spaces

Businesses with their own assessment, as per the Valuation Office Agency (VOA), should be listed as the rate payer. Businesses that pay rates as part of their rent should check www.voa.gov.uk to see if their premises is individually rated and they occupy the full space listed.

Where a business premises is individually rated and is eligible for Small Business Rate Relief, Rural Rate Relief or Expanded Retail Discount, and has a rateable value below £51,000 they may well be eligible for the grant, even if they are not currently named on the rates bill. Such businesses should fill in the online form www.southderbyshire.gov.uk/businessgrants and the Council will assess their case on an individual basis. 

Businesses whose premises are not individually rated, such as those operating out of Business Centres or Enterprise Zones, are not eligible for a grant. 

6. How much are the grants

Small Business Grant Scheme

If a business was eligible for Small Business Rate Relief (SBRR) or Rural Rates Relief (RRR) the grant amount is £10,000.

Retail, Hospitality and Leisure Grant Scheme

If a business was eligible for the Expanded Retail Discount (which covers retail, hospitality and leisure):

  • and the business premises has a rateable value up to and including £15,000, the grant amount is £10,000.
  • and the business premises has a rateable value between £15,001 and £50,999 the grant amount is £25,000.

7. What if the business rates database is not up to date?

Whilst the Council works hard to ensure its business rates database is up to date and accurate, on occasion the records it holds may not be 100% up to date, particularly in relation to new businesses prior to 11 March 2020.

  • Should a business contact us to tell us they are in occupation of a premises/should be listed as the rate payer, but the rates bill is not currently in their name/in the name of the landlord, the grant claim will be investigated further to determine whether the database needs to be amended and a grant awarded. This may delay/prevent a grant

  • Should a business contact us to let us know they are operating from a premise that is not on the VOA rating list and/or the business rates database, a grant will not be payable.

8. How to claim the grant

All businesses must complete a grant claim form. There are no exceptions.

The form is available at: www.southderbyshire.gov.uk/businessgrants

Any business in receipt of State Aid must also submit a signed State Aid Declaration letter and their claim will not be processed until the letter is provided. This can be downloaded as part of the form.

Businesses who need a paper form can request one by calling customer services on 01283 595795.

9. What about State Aid?

Businesses that are eligible for Small Business Rate Relief or Rural Rate Relief can only accept a grant under the Small Business Grant Scheme if in receiving it, the total State Aid the business will have received in the past three financial years will not exceed €200,000.

Businesses that are eligible for the Expanded Retail Discount Scheme* can only accept a grant under the Retail, Hospitality and Leisure Scheme if in receiving it, the total State Aid the business will have received in the past three financial years will not exceed €800,000.

State Aid includes but is not limited to Supporting Small Business Relief (this is not the same as Small Business Relief), Retail Relief, Supporting Pub Relief, shop front grants and any other grants issued to you stating they are given under State Aid. Find out more at www.gov.uk/state-aid

*For clarity, the Government has confirmed that the Expanded Retail Relief for 2020/2021 and the Nursery Discount for 2020/2021 are not considered State Aid.

Any business in receipt of State Aid must submit a signed State Aid Declaration letter and their grant claim will not be processed until the letter is provided. The letter can be downloaded as part of the online application form at: www.southderbyshire.gov.uk/businessgrants.

10. How are the grants processed?

All grant claims will be processed through a series of checks, including checks against our business rates database and checks using the Government Spotlight anti-fraud software.

The District Council reserves the right to verify/put on hold any claim to enable detailed checks to be carried out.

Any suspected fraud cases will be investigated by our partners Derby City Council Anti-Fraud team.

Any business caught falsifying their records to gain a grant will face prosecution and any funding issued will be subject to claw back.

To find out how we will record, process and store your data, please read our data protection statement at www.southderbyshire.gov.uk/businessdata

11. How will the grant be paid?

The grant will be paid to the rate payer as of 11 March 2020.

Businesses that are eligible for a grant(s) will be paid directly into their bank accounts.

No paperwork will be issued with the grant. If you require grant payment documentation, please email business.grants@southderbyshire.gov.uk. Please note the documentation may take some time to provide as we process other grants. 

A business that is eligible for Small Business Rates Relief or Retail Rates Relief can only claim one grant under the Small Business Grant Scheme.

A business that is eligible for the Expanded Retail Relief and has multiple premises will receive a grant for each individually rated eligible premises. Any non-eligible premises (for example with rateable values over £51,000) will not receive a grant.

Any properties falling within both the Small Business Rate Relief and Expanded Retail eligibility should be awarded one 10k grant. Businesses cannot be awarded both grants on the same property.   

Please note, the grant is subject to tax.

12. What if my business is not eligible

Businesses that complete a form but are not eligible will receive a letter to their business premises to notify them that their claim has not been successful.

The letter will detail the appeals process.

13. Can I decline the grant?

Eligible businesses can decline the grant.

Any business that will exceed their State Aid de Minimis level by receiving the grant must declare it and not accept the grant.  This is the responsibility of the business.

14. What is the appeals process

Businesses can appeal the decision made by the authority in relation to grants.

All appeals must be made in writing and sent to: Business Grants Appeals, South Derbyshire District Council, Civic Offices, Civic Way, Swadlincote, Derbyshire, DE11 0AH or emailed to business.grants@southderbyshire.gov.uk

Appeals may take up to 12 weeks to process and will be considered by the Strategic Director of Corporate Resources. The decision made at appeal will be final.

The Government has also confirmed that aid may be granted to undertakings that were not in difficulty (within the meaning of Article 2(18) of the General Block Exemption Regulation) on 31 December 2019, but that faced difficulties or entered in difficulty thereafter as a result of the COVID-19 outbreak.

The Government has also confirmed that aid may be granted to undertakings that were not in difficulty (within the meaning of Article 2(18) of the General Block Exemption Regulation) on 31 December 2019, but that faced difficulties or entered in difficulty thereafter as a result of the COVID-19 outbreak.

This aid is in addition to any aid that you may have received under the De Minimis regulation allowing aid of up to €200,000 to any one organisation over a three fiscal year period (i.e. your current fiscal year and previous two fiscal years), and any other approved aid you have received under other State aid rules, such as aid granted under the General Block Exemption Regulation.  Companies who have received State Aid will be asked to confirm that their undertaking was not in difficulty (within the meaning of Article 2(18) of the General Block Exemption Regulation) on 31 December 2019.  

15. Any questions?

Email business.grants@southderbyshire.gov.uk

Changes to these FAQs

The Government guidance on which these FAQs is based has been subject to ongoing change and, as such, the FAQs may also be subject to change. The District Council is not liable if any of the changes affect the eligibility of any business for any of the COVID-19 grants.