Discretionary Business Grants

Central Government has provided the Council with guidance to provide a discretionary grant scheme for small and micro businesses. The scheme aims to support businesses who are struggling to survive due to the COVID-19 shutdown, but are unable to access other grant funding.

Applications are now closed

We aim to repond to all applications by 15 July 2020.

Discretionary Grants guidance

The grant fund is limited and may not be enough to support all businesses who are in need of financial support.  

Who will be supported through this grant scheme? 

The funding will be prioritised to support.

The funding will be used to support small and micro businesses including: 

  • small businesses in shared offices or other flexible workspaces
  • Colchester market traders with fixed on-going costs, such as rent and who have been trading weekly for at least 1 year
  • properties which are used wholly or mainly as Bed & Breakfast, which pay Council Tax instead of business rates
  • charities in receipt of charitable business rates relief which would otherwise have been eligible for Small Business Rates Relief or Rural Rate Relief 
  • nurseries in receipt of the Business Rates Nursery Discount 2020-2021  
  • taxi firms with business premises  
  • supply chain/manufacturing businesses which can demonstrate a significant loss in income due to the closure of the retail, hospitality and leisure sectors 
  • chiropractors, physiotherapists, chiropodists and similar business premises with a business rates assessment

Eligibility criteria 

Businesses meeting the following criteria will be prioritised:

  • have ongoing fixed building-related costs 
  • be able to demonstrate that they have suffered a significant fall in income due to the COVID-19 crisis  
  • have fewer than 50 employees  
  • be able to evidence that they were trading on 11 March 
  • have a rateable value of under £51,000 
  • have annual rent or mortgage costs under £51,000 
  • have a turnover of under £10.2 million


This grant funding is for small businesses who are not eligible for other support schemes. Businesses who are eligible for any other cash grants from any central government COVID related scheme are ineligible for funding from the Discretionary Grants Fund (this does not include Self Employed Income Support or the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme).  

Businesses that are in administration, are insolvent or where a striking-off notice has been made are not eligible under this scheme. 

How much will businesses receive? 

With limited funds to dispense, the individual awards will depend upon the number of applicants and their circumstances but will not be less than £2,000 or over £10,000. Due to the limited fund available, discretion will be taken to award what is fair based on the number of businesses found eligible for this grant.  

In order to support as many businesses as possible, the level of support given to individual businesses will be determined during the application assessment process. The following considerations will be taken into account: 

  • the size of the business 
  • the level of on-going fixed property related costs 
  • the level of income lost 
  • whether the business is still able to trade in some capacity 


There is no right of appeal and the decisions will be final.  

Other support available 

If you are not eligible for the discretionary grant you may be eligible for other government support – go to www.businesssupport.gov.uk.   


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Page last reviewed: 27 May 2020