Discretionary Grants Fund

Who can apply?

The discretionary grant fund scheme is open to businesses based in England that have not previously received a government grant.

In the first instance we can only accept applications from the following businesses, which the government has asked all local authorities to prioritise:

  • Small businesses in shared offices or other flexible workspaces. Examples could 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 properties in receipt of charitable business rates relief which would otherwise have been eligible for Small Business Rates Relief or Rural Rate Relief

And in addition, the following categories, which Lancaster City Council is including in the current scheme:

  • Businesses that trade directly from a vehicle rather than from premises (for example taxi drivers, approved driving instructors and ice cream vans, where the vehicle is the focal point of the business)
  • Ofsted registered nurseries (including home-based nurseries)
  • Non-public sector businesses with a rateable value of £15,000 - £51,000
  • Businesses that are still unable to re-open due to Covid-19 government imposed restrictions post 4 July 2020


There are four key eligibility criteria which must all be met.

1. Small and micro businesses, where two of these three conditions are met: 
  • Turnover: Not more than £10.2 million  
  • Balance sheet total: Not more than £5.1 million  
  • Number of employees: a headcount of staff of less than 50 
2. Businesses with ongoing fixed property-related costs  
3. Businesses which can demonstrate that they have suffered a significant fall in income due to the COVID-19 crisis  
4. Businesses occupying all or part of a property, with a rateable value or annual rent or annual mortgage payments below £51,000. 

Businesses that have already received a government support grant are not eligible for this grant.

Businesses that have received assistance from the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme and the Self-Employment Income Support Scheme are eligible as long as they fulfil the four key eligibility criteria.

How to apply

  • Apply for a discretionary grant from Lancaster City Council

Please see the following guidance to support your application:

Paper applications are available on request. Please email econdev@lancaster.gov.uk or telephone 01524 582000.  

Closing date

Applications for this round of grant funding must be received by Friday 28 August  2020.