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Discretionary business grants

Last updated on Monday 6 July 2020, 3:15pm

The Discretionary Business Grant (DBG) Fund has now closed and you will no longer be able to apply for this grant.


We are currently reviewing the DBG applications we have received and will be in contact with you. Cases are proving to be complex, often requiring supporting evidence to be requested from applicants to enable submissions to be fully considered. 

We will email you by 20 July.  If you are asked to submit information in support of your application, please ensure that you respond quickly and that you address the request fully to avoid delays and help the Appraisal Team to review cases promptly.    

To enable us to process the applications as quickly as possible, can we ask that you only contact the Call Centre on 0121 216 1020 if you have not heard from us by 20 July.

In the meantime, you can view some Frequently Asked Questions

If a business has applied for a DBG, when is it likely that it will receive a grant funding decision?

Applicants will receive an email response from the Appraisal Team by 20 July 2020.  It is recommended that businesses do not contact the Call Centre prior to this date to enable the Appraisal Team to work through all of the applications as quickly as possible.

If a business missed the deadline for the submission of my DBG application, will there be another opportunity for a business to apply?

No, the funding round closed at midday on Monday 15th June, so there is no opportunity at the moment to apply.  Only when all the applications have been reviewed will the Appraisal Team  know if all of the Discretionary Business Grant funding has been fully allocated.  If it hasn’t, then it may be possible to run a further funding round.  It is recommended that a company checks the Discretionary Business Grants webpage for further updates after 20 July 2020.

What happens if a company didn’t submit all the supporting evidence with their application because it wasn’t available at the time of their submission?

A DBG application can only be fully appraised if all of the supporting evidence is provided by the applicant.  The Appraisal Team will give the applicant an opportunity to provide the missing evidence within 2 days.  To ensure fairness to DBG applicants in the pipeline and to avoid delays in processing applications, if the information requested is not provided within this timescale, then there is a possibility that the application will be rejected or closed.

If the supporting documentation provided by the applicant is not deemed to be sufficient to satisfy the Appraisal Team and does not meet the scheme criteria, then the application will be rejected or closed.

To avoid this, applicants should ensure that the evidence they submit clearly addresses the request/s made by the Appraisal Team.

If a company is asked to provide additional information, or a more detailed explanation regarding their application, what timeframe will I need to respond in?

The Appraisal Team will give the applicant an opportunity to provide the missing evidence within 2 days.  To ensure fairness to DBG applicants in the pipeline and to avoid delays in processing applications, if the information requested is not provided within this timescale, then there is a possibility that the application will be rejected or closed.

If the additional queries/documentation provided by the applicant is not deemed to be sufficient to satisfy the Appraisal Team and does not meet the scheme criteria, then the application will be rejected.

To avoid this, applicants should ensure that the evidence they submit clearly addresses the requests made by the Appraisal Team.

What happens if a business cannot obtain or submit the additional evidence within the 2 day window?

The Appraisal Team are requesting that supporting evidence is submitted within 2 days to enable applications to be processed as quickly as possible. 

However, if an applicant is unable to obtain the required information within this timescale, the application will be placed temporarily on hold.  We ask that businesses submit the information as quickly as they possibly can, as this grant funding is only available for a limited period and we cannot hold applications indefinitely.

Where and how do businesses send in further evidence? 

A DBG application cannot be processed unless we are in receipt of the full supporting evidence.  If the Appraisal Team request missing evidence, or require further clarification or documentation, an email request will be sent to the applicant together with a “further evidence” online form which the applicant will need to complete and attach evidence to. 

The business will have 2 days to return the form to the Appraisal Team.  If the evidence is not returned within this timeframe, then there is a possibility that their application cannot be progressed further and will be rejected or closed.

What happens when a business has applied for a Small Business Grant (SBG) or Retail, Hospitality and Leisure Grant (RHLG) and hasn’t received a decision, so applies for a Discretionary Business Grant in the interim?  What happens to both of their applications?

Some businesses may have applied for a SBG or a RHLG, and were awaiting a funding decision when the Discretionary Business Grant Fund launched.

As DBG had only a 2 week window in which businesses could apply, rather than disadvantage these businesses, as from 12.00 noon on 5th June, they were allowed to apply for a DBG whilst they awaited the SBG or RHLG decision. 

A company can only be awarded one of the following grants: a SBG, a RHLG, or a Discretionary Business Grant (DBG).  

So, in this case, their DBG submission will be held pending a funding decision on their SBG or RHLG application.  (The SBG or RHLG grant application takes priority as there is a larger funding pot available for these two grants).

If the company’s SBG or RHLG application is successful, then it will be awarded either of these grants and their DBG application will be rejected. 

If the company’s SBG or RHLG application is unsuccessful, the DBG Appraisal Team will review the DBG application and inform the business of their decision.

Is there an appeal process ?

No there is not an appeal process.

How does a company find out why its DBG grant application has been rejected?

Applications are being rejected because they either do not meet the Scheme criteria OR the evidence in the Application does not meet or match the information given on the form.
This may be in relation to one or all of the following:

  • Insufficient down turn of income demonstrated, the Government scheme says that we can only pay grants to those that can evidence a  ‘significant’ loss of income.
  • The bank statements provided do not provide enough evidence to support the application OR do not show sufficient downturn in income to enable a grant to be paid.
  • Ongoing commercial costs, the government says we can only make awards to those businesses which can evidence this.
  • The business does not come under one of the Governments priority categories.
  • The business is based outside of the Birmingham area.
  • The applicant is not a small business or micro-business.
  • Airbnb and short term lets are ineligible from the scheme.
  • Businesses with rateable values above £51,000 are ineligible.
  • The business has already been awarded a SBG or a RHLG.

What is meant by a “significant” loss of income?

The Government Guidance states that a business must prove a ‘significant loss of income’ to be considered for a Discretionary Business Grant.   Birmingham City Council has set the minimum loss of just 30%, which means that if you do not evidence at least a 30% loss of income during lockdown, you will not be entitled to an award.

If a company believes that it has fulfilled the Government criteria, what can the business do?

I’m afraid that the decision in final.

What if a company believes there has been a mistake as they do meet the DBG criteria?

The company will need to complete a complaint form

Will there be another chance for a company to apply for a DBG grant?

At the moment, the Appraisal Team are processing all Applications from the first round.  If there is funding left, then there will be another window for non priority businesses to apply.  However, it is unlikely that this process will be completed until mid July.  It is worth revisiting the www.birmingham.gov.uk/dbg webpage at this time for announcements.

Does the amount of commercial fixed property costs included within a Discretionary Business Grant application have an impact on the amount of grant awarded?

The commercial fixed property costs which a company has included within its DBG application has a direct impact on the amount of grant funding awarded.  

The Government guidelines indicate that businesses with “high ongoing property costs” should be given priority, so if a business has low fixed property costs,  then it stands to reason that their grant award will be smaller.  The minimum grant awarded will be £2,500, increasing to £25,000 for those businesses which incur very high ongoing property costs. 

Government anticipates that a large proportion of the Discretionary Business Grant funding will be awarded at lower grant levels.