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Discretionary grant scheme


  • A second phase of the scheme will be available from mid-day 13 July 2020 for two weeks

In response to the COVID19 crisis the Government’s Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy (BEIS) introduced grant schemes to assist businesses during the pandemic.

The schemes were available to businesses who were ratepayers and in receipt of Small Business Rate Relief, Rural Rate Relief or extended Retail, Hospitality and Leisure and had a rateable value of less than £51,000.

However, Government recognised that some businesses were excluded from these grants as they did not fall in the above categories or were not direct ratepayers (because, for example a contribution to the Business Rates may have been paid within their rent).

The discretionary grant scheme is aimed at small businesses and charities that were not eligible for the Small Business Grant Fund or Retail, Leisure and Hospitality Grant Fund. Each council has discretion concerning the award of this fund but is expected to administer the scheme within the guidance issued by Government.

What types of business are the grants intended to support?

In order to be considered for a grant your business must be one of the following types of business, as set out in the Government’s guidance:

  • Small businesses in shared offices or flexible workspace, where the landlord is liable for the business rates. Examples 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 and Breakfasts which pay Council Tax instead of Business Rates
  • Charity property in receipt of charitable business rates relief which would otherwise have been eligible for Small Business Rates Relief or Rural Rate Relief.

In addition, the Council has used its discretion to also include:

  • Businesses that pay business rates (or mooring fees) and have been unable to claim other Government grants because of one of the following reasons:
    • Their rateable value is too high
    • They operate from two locations
    • They pay mooring fees instead of business rates

      These businesses must be registered at Companies House at an address in Dover district and operate from a premises in Dover district.

How do businesses qualify?

This grant funding is for businesses not eligible for other government-funded support schemes (except for the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme and the Self-Employed Income Support Scheme).

If your business is eligible for other government funded support, but you have chosen not to use that support, you will not be considered for this scheme.

 Your business MUST fall into ​ALL​ of the following categories:

  • Businesses with ongoing fixed building-related costs
  • Businesses which can demonstrate that they have suffered a significant fall in income due to the Covid-19 crisis
  • Businesses with fewer than 50 employees
  • Businesses that were trading on 11 March 2020
  • Businesses which occupy property, or part of a property, with a rateable value or annual rent or annual mortgage payments below £100,000

What is the value of the grants?

We don’t know how many businesses are likely to apply, but there is a high likelihood that it will be a significant number.

The value of awards will depend on the number of valid applications and it is therefore possible that the grants may have to be capped at a modest level.  If the scheme is heavily subscribed we may not be able to make awards to all applicants.


  • A second phase of the scheme will be available from mid-day 13 July 2020 for two weeks

What businesses definitely won’t qualify?

Businesses that:

  • were not trading on 11 March 2020
  • cannot produce evidence of significant property related costs
  • cannot produce evidence of a significant loss of income
  • are in administration
  • are insolvent or where a striking-off notice has been made
  • have received, or are eligible, for any of the following:
    • Discretionary business grant
    • Small Business Grant Fund
    • Retail, Hospitality and Leisure Grant
    • The Fisheries Response Fund
    • Domestic Seafood Supply Scheme (DSSS)
    • The Zoos Support Fund
    • The Dairy Hardship Fund

What about “State Aid”?

It is necessary for businesses applying to confirm compliance with State Aid rules.

Although the UK left the EU on 31 January 2020, the Council must be satisfied that all State Aid requirements have been fully met and complied with when making grant payments, including, where required, compliance with all relevant conditions of the EU State aid De-Minimis Regulation, the EU Commission Temporary Framework for State aid measures to support the economy in the current COVID-19 outbreak, the approved COVID-19 Temporary Framework for UK Authorities, and any relevant reporting requirements to the EU Commission.

How will decisions be made?

No grant will be paid without an application.

The authority to consider applications is delegated to the Head of Inward Investment and Tourism, who will ensure that a decision is notified by email as soon as is reasonably practical after the application period closes.

Any appeal against the decision to award or not award relief or against the level of award must be made within 7 days of notification of the decision by email.

Authority to consider appeals is delegated to the Chief Executive or his nominee who will notify the applicant of the final decision in writing within 7 days as to whether an appeal is refused or accepted, with a full explanation of the reasons for the decision.

If you would like further advice on application of the scheme please contact

Business helpline 

  • Business helpline 03333 602 300 - Monday to Friday 8.30am-5.30pm 
  • This service is funded by Kent Local Authorities and delivered by the Kent and Medway Growth Hub.



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