16th June 2021

Discretionary Grant scheme extended

Somerset West and Taunton Council (SWT) is extending its Discretionary Business Grant scheme to include more businesses and organisations who have been adversely affected by the COVID-19 crisis.

The scheme which opened on 1 June, has remained under review in order to balance demand with the funds that were made available from Government. Eligibility criteria was widened for the first time after two weeks.

The latest changes follow a review of unsuccessful applicants and feedback from businesses particularly those that have not benefitted from other Covid-19 schemes.

The revised criteria will help additional business types in the retail and tourism sector across the district, including:

  • Self-contained self-catering holiday accommodation which is subject to Council Tax 
  • All B&Bs (which provide food and accommodation  to paying guests)
  • Commercial fishing boats, charter fishing boats and charter pleasure boat businesses based in SWT harbours  
  • Street traders and market operators who have consents from and live in SWT 
  • Self-employed Taxi/private hire drivers which are licenced with SWT 
  • Mobile retailers 
  • Visitor information centres 

The Council has also adjusted the ‘fixed property related costs’ threshold for some of these business types to reflect their lower likely fixed property-related costs.

Cllr Marcus Kravis, Executive Member for Economic Development, said: “We want to help as many of our local businesses as possible to survive through these difficult times and to prosper as restrictions begin to ease.

“While we have been able to ensure that many eligible businesses have received the grants they are entitled to, there have been some, particularly our smaller independent businesses, who have not met the criteria to qualify. We hope to offer these businesses a chance to benefit through this further extension of the discretionary grant scheme.

 “We value all our businesses in the SWT area. They not only contribute to the local economy but provide services to our residents and visitors and are essential to the economic recovery.”

Full details of all eligible businesses that are now included in the scheme can be found at www.somersetwestandtaunton.gov.uk/business-rates/business-grants-covid-19-response/ 

From the following week (17 July) if any funds are remaining, SWT will widen the scheme to include any other businesses which are not assessed for business rates, which can demonstrate hardship caused by COVID 19, where it is the sole or main source of income for the applicant and is based and operating within SWT.