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Business Rates

Discretionary Business Grants

Special Note: Applications for the first round of Discretionary Grants closed at midnight on Sunday 14th June 2020. The Council has from this first round paid 198 discretionary grants totalling £1,134,429. This leaves £329,071 funding left and Mid Sussex District Council will have a second round of Discretionary Grant Applications. The second round is now open but will close at midnight on Sunday 12 July 2020. No late applications will be considered. We will review all second round discretionary grant applications after the closing date of the 12 July 2020. It is important that all applicants read the guidelines (which are the same as for Round 1) before completing their application. All applications must be made online at No other form of application will be considered.

The Government has confirmed additional COVID-19 emergency funding of £1.463m to Mid Sussex District Council for a Discretionary Business Grants programme. The funding is aimed at supporting small and micro-businesses in Mid Sussex. The Council, like local authorities across the country, has discretion to set the evaluation criteria used to assess applications for a grant from this fund and to decide which business applicants are awarded grants. The guidelines are at:

Agreed consistent Discretionary Grant guidelines for most West Sussex Council’s

Mid Sussex DC Discretionary Grant Guidelines

The criteria is summarised below.

The application process for discretionary grants is now open again.

The Discretionary Business Grants funding is a much smaller allocation (£1.463m for Mid Sussex DC) compared to the previous Small Business Grants and Retail, Hospitality and Leisure grants of £12.1 million. It is likely that the new fund will be oversubscribed, meaning only a small minority of business applicants are likely to be successful in securing grant funding from this particular scheme.

Businesses should carefully check before applying they meet the eligibility criteria. All applications will be assessed in accordance with the evaluation criteria below.

Summary of eligibility criteria

  • An applicant should not have been awarded a Small Business Grant or a Retail Hospitality and Leisure Grant or any other COVID-19 emergency business grants
  • An applicant must be a micro or small business in accordance with the Companies Act 2006 (see sections 18 and 19 of the West Sussex Councils Guidance document)
  • An applicant can only receive a maximum of one grant award if successful and must declare if they have made an application in any other local authority area  
  • An applicant must be a business trading successfully on or before 11 March 2020
  • Businesses in administration or which are insolvent are not eligible to apply, neither are businesses where a “striking off” notice has been made
  • Applications should only come from businesses in a property with an annual rateable value (or property cost equivalent) of a maximum of £51,000, apart from very exceptional circumstances
  • Businesses who have applied for the Job Retention Scheme or Self Employment Income support scheme are eligible to apply for the Discretionary Grants scheme, although this may be taken into account in the award of any grant.
  • Businesses must provide relevant documentary evidence to support their application, as set out in the online form. 
  • Mid Sussex DC expect to be heavily over subscribed so please provide the Council with as much information as you can to support your grant application.
  • Any grant award is subject to due diligence checks, including State Aid compliance

Summary of evaluation criteria

The stated government priorities for Discretionary Grants are: 

  • Micro-enterprises in business work spaces
  • Market Traders
  • Bed and Breakfasts
  • Charity properties who get rates relief but who otherwise would have qualified for Small Business Rates relief
  • Businesses in premises with an annual rateable value of £51,000 or below, or an equivalent property cost if rates are not applicable.

Using the discretion, we have been given, Mid Sussex DC will prioritise the following small / micro businesses when evaluating applications: Those who:-

  • Applied for the Small Business Grant or the Retail, Hospitality, Leisure grant (i.e. those in the supply chain) but who were unsuccessful, provided they can demonstrate they have relatively high fixed property related costs
  • Did not qualify for business grants but pay onerous business rates or have other relatively high property costs.
  • May have qualified for a business grant but are waiting for a business rate valuation decision from the independent Valuation Office Agency;
  • Can demonstrate they have experienced a significant fall in income (or been closed) due to COVID-19 crisis
  • Can demonstrate they have a significant impact on the surrounding local economy (e.g. if they are in a prominent location in Mid Sussex)
  • Have not benefited from other business grant schemes
  • Can demonstrate that they can successfully trade after COVID19

The more of these criteria an applicant can demonstrate and the more convincing the case made, the stronger their application.

Timings and process for awarding grants

Eligible businesses in Mid Sussex can submit applications from 28th to 12th July 2020 inclusive.

  • Mid Sussex DC Revenues team will check applications (in collaboration with the Economic Development Team) for eligibility and evaluate applications then shortlist businesses recommended for a grant
  • Mid Sussex DC Revenues team will carry out due diligence checks on the shortlisted applicants
  • Delegated named senior officers will make the grant awards (in consultation with the Economic Development Team).  The Council will email them the outcome, either with a remittance advice or by email advising of the outcome
  • Subject to the above, Mid Sussex DC Finance team will then process grant payments to successful applicants in week commencing 20st July 2020.

The Council will process payments to successful applicants as quickly as possible.

For any enquiries please email the Please don’t contact us to check the outcome of your application during the period 29th June to 24th July 2020.

Grant Payment Levels and Criteria

When awarding business grants to successful applicants Mid Sussex District Council will adhere to the following criteria when determining the maximum amount of grant to allocate to a business.  Apart from the exception indicated below, the Council will exercise its discretion in determining the appropriate amount of grant to award to each successful applicant up to the maximum amount indicated for each category below.


Maximum Grant Amount


Market Trader with ongoing costs


Regular market trader with home address within the Mid Sussex district.  Fees/rent, service charges*.

Rateable Value or ongoing property costs up to £15K per annum


RV or where no RV rent/ mortgage costs, service charges*.

Rateable Value or ongoing property costs between £15,001 and £51,000 per annum


RV or where no RV rent/ mortgage costs, service charges*.

Rateable Value or ongoing property costs of over £51,000 and exceptional circumstances


RV or where no RV rent/mortgage costs, service charges*

Exceptional circumstances are:

  • Business closed completely
  • 100% income lost from 18th March 2020 – 13th May 2020. 
  • Service Charges can include Utility and other bills if related to running the business.

Please note that if the business is run from home this may still qualify for a grant if you can show the costs are related/necessary to the business.  Please put as much information as you can in your application.

If this scheme fund is oversubscribed with applications the scheme allows for MSDC to reserve the right to amend the grant levels on a pro-rata basis, based on the number of applications received and approved.

Please note, you will be asked to upload 7 documents in order to move onto the next stage. If you do not have 7, please duplicate the ones you have to make it up to 7.