City Council opens Discretionary Grants Fund for local businesses affected by Coronavirus

Published: Tuesday, 2nd June 2020

Oxford City Council has opened its Discretionary Grants Fund and is encouraging businesses to apply.

The funding will allow businesses which have previously missed out on grant funding to receive crucial support during the coronavirus outbreak.

The funding, which opens to Oxford businesses from Tuesday 2 June, has been allocated from the Government to the City Council to distribute to local businesses.

The City Council has been awarded £1.265m to distribute, with businesses and charities able to receive up to £10,000 from the Council as financial support in this round of funding. 

The Discretionary Grant Fund aims to widen access to support for small businesses with fixed property-related costs that are struggling to survive due to the Coronavirus shutdown, and unable to access other grant funding.

In April, the Council called on the Government to support businesses that were not covered by coronavirus relief funding such as micro-businesses, and to work with banks and insurers to provide more financial aid.

Following feedback from local businesses around gaps in funding support, the council is seeking to ensure the limited pot of Discretionary Grant funding addresses these gaps.

Who can apply?

The Discretionary Grants Fund is aimed at small and micro businesses with relatively high ongoing fixed property-related costs that can demonstrate that they have suffered a significant fall in income due to the COVID-19 crisis.

In line with Government guidance, the first round of funding prioritises the following groups;

  • Small businesses in shared offices or other flexible workspaces, which do not have a business rates assessment.
  • Regular market traders with fixed property costs, who do not have their own business rates assessment.
  • Bed & Breakfasts which pay Council Tax instead of Business Rates.
  • Charities in properties in receipt of charitable business rates relief which would otherwise have been eligible for Small Business Rates Relief.

Application evaluation

Due to the limited amount of funding available, it is possible more businesses will apply than available funds. Therefore, the City Council will be issuing grants based on business eligibility, the scale of financial losses and costs, and an assessment of economic, and social and environmental impact.

Application deadline

Businesses that wish to apply for the grant should complete the online application form.

The deadline for applications is 23:59 on Sunday 14 June 2020, with first payments being made to businesses in early July.

Support for businesses in Oxford

The City Council has been encouraging businesses - particularly smaller businesses - to access the financial support that is available.

For more information about support available for businesses in Oxford, please visit our Support for business page.

“Our businesses are the lifeblood of our economy in the city. After hearing their feedback and lobbying the Government on the need for additional support for smaller and micro-businesses, we can now provide this new funding, which for some could be the difference between staying in business or going bust.

“If you have missed out on previous Government funding as a small or micro-business, I encourage you to apply for the Discretionary Grants Fund which can help to support you and your business.”

Councillor Susan Brown, Leader of Oxford City Council

To find out more and apply for the Discretionary grant fund, please visit www.oxford.gov.uk/discretionarygrant

If you are a business that would like further guidance on the Discretionary Grants Fund, please email [email protected]