Discretionary grant fund

The Government has announced £3.4M of extra funding for businesses in Hackney through the new discretionary grants fund.

The new fund is aimed at small businesses who have experienced a significant fall in income as a result of Covid-19 with ongoing fixed property-related costs and currently outside the scope of the existing Government business grant schemes. Local authorities are responsible for developing and administering their own grant programmes.

Please note that businesses are not eligible for this grant if:

  • they qualify for the existing small business grant fund or the retail, hospitality and leisure grant fund
  • they are in administration, insolvent or where a striking off notice has been made
  • they were not trading on the 11 March 2020

How much funding will be provided to businesses?

  • the Government has issued a discretionary grant allocation of £3.4m to award to businesses in the borough
  • grants will have 2 levels, up to £10K for small businesses and up to £5K for micro businesses
  • this limited funding will mean we can only support a few hundred businesses

Who is the grant aimed at?

Priority business types have been determined based on the Government guidance, Hackney’s local economy and the evidence gathered to date on the impact of Covid-19 on local businesses and they are:

  • small and micro businesses in shared offices or workspaces without their own business rates assessment: offices or workspaces in domestic dwellings are not classed as shared offices or shared workspace, to be eligible the business must be using a commercial space where an all-inclusive rent, license or similar fee is paid and occupy this space on a regular basis as their primary business premises
  • small and micro businesses in the retail, hospitality and leisure sector with a rateable value of between £51,000-£60,000 (inclusive) and who have therefore been unable to benefit from the existing retail, hospitality and leisure grant: the business must be a retail, hospitality or leisure business identified in the retail, hospitality and leisure grant fund
  • small and micro businesses whose income and turnover is directly related to the retail, hospitality and leisure sector: businesses must demonstrate clearly in their application how their business is related to retail, hospitality and leisure sector. Those businesses in the retail, hospitality and leisure sector are identified in the retail, hospitality and leisure grant fund
  • regular market traders with fixed building costs who do not have their own business rates assessment: a regular market trader is defined as a market trader with a permanent licence who trades 5 or more days per week in the London Borough of Hackney. A fixed building cost for a market trader includes ongoing pitch fees and storage fees

The Council will also consider applications from other business types identified in the Government guidance provided they meet the eligibility criteria. These are:

  • bed and breakfasts who pay council tax instead of business rates and who provide visitor accommodation on a per night basis including at least one meal per day (not Airbnb style accommodation, houses in multiple occupation or other forms of short term lets)
  • charity properties who occupy a commercial property with a rateable value of £15,000 or less and who are in receipt of charitable business rates relief which would otherwise have been eligible for small business rates relief or rural rate relief
  • Ofsted registered nurseries (not within a domestic premises)

Eligibility criteria

You must fulfil all criteria set out below to be considered eligible to apply:

  • businesses must fall into one of the business categories detailed above
  • business must be based in and trading in Hackney
  • businesses must be a trading as a sole trader, self-employed, partnership or limited company, registered charity, or social enterprise
  • businesses must have been trading on the 11 March 2020
  • businesses must be classed as a small or micro business. This is defined by having at least two of the following to be defined as a small business: not more than 50 employees, a turnover of less than £10.2m and a balance sheet total of not more than £5.1m, and by having at least two of the following to be defined as a microbusiness: not more than 10 employees, a turnover of not more than £632,000 and a balance sheet total of not more than £316,000.
  • businesses must occupy a property that has a rateable value of less than £51,000, or an annual rent, licence, or mortgage payment below £51,000. Or, in the case of retail, leisure and hospitality businesses the business must occupy a property with a rateable value of between £51,000- £60,000 (inclusive) or an annual rent, licence or mortgage payment of £60,000 or less
  • businesses must have a relatively high fixed property related cost: a fixed property related cost is defined as an ongoing fixed business premises rent cost, business premises licence cost, business premises mortgage cost, market pitch fee (in the case of a market trader), or business storage fee (in the case of a market trader)
  • businesses must be able to demonstrate a significant fall in income due to the Covid-19 crisis
  • businesses must not be in administration, insolvent or subject to a striking off notice
  • businesses must not be eligible for the existing small business grant, the retail, hospitality and leisure grant, the fisheries response fund, domestic seafood supply scheme (DSSS), the zoos support fund, or the dairy hardship fund

Please note that businesses who have accessed the coronavirus job retention scheme or self employment income support scheme are still eligible to apply as long as they fulfill all other criteria.

Application process

Applications opened on Friday 12 June and will close at 11:59pm, Friday 26 June.

Eligible businesses will have a two week period to submit their application online.

Grant applications will be processed in the order in which they are received.  In the event that the number of applications eligible to be awarded funding exceeds the total amount of grant funding available, then the eligible applications will be awarded based on when they were received.

Businesses will be asked to provide the following evidence with their application:

  • a copy of your  business accounts (or a copy of your business Self Assessment tax return if applicable to your business) for the year 2018/19. If this is not available as the business is less than 1 year old, please provide what is available
  • a form of photo identification such as a passport or driving licence
  • evidence of your ongoing fixed property costs (such as the lease, licence, rental agreement or mortgage statement for your business premises)
  • financial evidence showing the fall in income experienced by your business as a result of Covid-19 (such as: up to date business management accounts for the last 12 months showing profit and loss, turnover, cashflow and balance sheet, bank statements over the past 6 months)
  • if available, your business payroll information for the last 6 months showing the number of people employed and paid by the business

Please ensure you have all relevant documentation ready to upload when you make your application, due to the huge administrative task of processing applications you will not be able to submit additional documentation via email at a later stage.

Once you have submitted your application you will receive an automated acknowledgement confirming your application.

For enquiries regarding the grants please email grant.admin@hackney.gov.uk.

We expect to receive thousands of applications and so ask that businesses do not email the Council for a progress update, all applicants will be contacted once a decision has been made.

Important note

Unfortunately, we are unable to offer an appeals process on decisions made as funding is likely to be allocated before any appeals could take place.


Applications for the discretionary grant fund are now closed.

Applications are being assessed and our aim is to contact applicants with a decision by 20 July.

Page updated on: 29 June 2020