Discretionary Grant Scheme

Before you apply

The Council has received more funds from the Scottish Government for the Discretionary Grant Scheme. It therefore has been able to widen the eligibility criteria to enable more businesses to apply, and if subject to funding availability after all eligible applicants have received grant, to provide top-up grant. Businesses who previously considered that they did not meet the criteria for this grant are encouraged to reread the guidance here and if they now consider themselves to be eligible, to use the online form and apply for grant.

The Discretionary Grant Scheme is set up to help micro, small and medium size businesses which are not eligible for grant from any of the current or proposed grant schemes. It is to mitigate the short-term financial challenges being experienced by businesses, who otherwise are unable to secure alternative grant support and have seen a significant reduction in trade – be that goods or services.

The grant scheme currently provides a fixed one-off payment of £2,000 per business. If residual funds remain after all eligible applicants have received this £2,000 grant, a top-up grant (of potentially up to another £2,000) will be provided. If a top-up grant is to be provided, businesses will receive this automatically and will not have to reapply. Any announcement will be made on the discretionary grant scheme page and by a press and social media release. Businesses are requested not to contact the Council enquiring as to if and when a top-up grant will be provided.

The grant is open to all business types including Limited Companies, Sole Traders/Self-Employed, Trusts and Partnerships.

Applications will be considered only if they are complete and include the requested evidence, on a “first come, first served basis”.  Any incomplete applications, or should the documents provided be unreadable, the processing of your application will be paused and completed application forms will first be processed. Applicants are therefore asked to take care, complete the application form correctly and submit the evidence documentation as requested.

With the additional funds being made available and revised eligibility criteria, the deadline for applications has been extended until 19 March 2021.

Who’s eligible?

To be eligible, your business needs to comply with the following criteria.

Core Criteria:

  • The business must not have secured a grant from any of the grant schemes in operation (or proposed) since October 2020.
    • By exception, if income (claimed/awarded for period 1 November 2020 to 29 January 2021) from the Self-Employment Income Support Scheme or any other grant scheme in operation, is less than the value of the Discretionary Grant Scheme (£2,000) – a top-up grant will be provided to make up the difference.
      In anticipation that residual funds may exist and a top-up grant provided, if income (claimed/awarded for period 1 November 2020 to 29 January 2021) from the Self-Employment Income Support Scheme or any other grant scheme in operation, is greater than £2,000 but less than £4,000 – a top-up grant may be provided to make up the difference.
  • The business must be able to demonstrate a significant reduction in trade (30% or more) due to COVID-19 restrictions.
  • The business was trading on Monday 2 November 2020 (i.e. business is not in administration, insolvency or received notice to be struck off Companies House).
  • The business is a Small or Micro business and employs 50 employees or fewer.
  • The business is based within the Highland Council area.

Standard Criteria:

  • The business has not breached wider COVID regulations/requirements prior to local restrictions.
  • Businesses with connections to tax havens, as set out in the Coronavirus (Scotland) (No.2) Act 2020, are not eligible to apply.
  • Any grant scheme payment received must be declared to HMRC as appropriate as part of the tax return for the business.
  • The business has considered the impact that any payment from the grant scheme may have on any insurance claim made/to be made.
  • The information provided in this application is correct and it is understood that if any information provided is later found to be false, repayment of funding may be required and depending on circumstances criminal proceedings might be instigated.
  • Confirmation that any public support received from UK, Scottish and Local Government over the last 3 years under the De minimis aid regulation, combined with this grant, will not breach the 200k euros limit and that the business was not an undertaking in difficulty on 31 December 2019.
  • The business has a dedicated bank account. It is preferable that this is a formal Business Bank Account, but it is acceptable to have a normal bank account that is used mainly for business banking that shows income and outgoings and is in name of business.

Businesses who are not eligible:

  • Bed and Breakfasts: A separate dedicated grant scheme is to be provided for Bed and Breakfasts.
  • Any business which has received grant aid through the Strategic Framework Business Fund (Closure/Restriction Fund).
  • Taxi, private hire and coach operators, Mobile Close Contact Services, Travel Agents, Tour Operators, Visitor Attractions, Wedding and Events venues and accommodation providers.

To check to see if you are available for other support please see Coronavirus Support for Highland Businesses, the UK Government support finder and the Scottish Government’s Find Business Support

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