Francophone: Cllr Guy Nicholson
Business chief Cllr Guy Nicholson. Photograph: Hackney Council.

Hackney Council has reopened a £3.4 million coronavirus fund for small businesses for one week, with a “determination” to spend all the cash before it must be returned to Whitehall.

The Discretionary Grant Fund is aimed at businesses who have experienced a significant drop in income, face ongoing fixed property-related costs and are ineligible for previous coronavirus grant schemes.

Small businesses can apply for up to £10,000, and micro businesses up to £5,000, until midnight on 28 August.

A government-imposed deadline means any money not distributed by 30 September has to be handed back to the Treasury.

Town Hall business lead Cllr Guy Nicholson said: “It’s frustrating that the government, without any discussion, has unexpectedly set an arbitrary deadline for this grant programme to finish and has said that any money left over is to be returned to them.  

“Hackney Council is determined to distribute the fund to businesses rather than return it to the Chancellor. So, as of now, we are reopening the application portal, and if you missed the original deadline then you now have the opportunity to apply. 

“Remember to get your application in before the government-imposed deadline kicks in – midnight on 28 August and pass on the word – apply now and let’s keep this money in Hackney!”

Since the fund was launched in June, nearly £1.3m has been paid to 245 businesses, with around 250 applications still being processed.

Despite this, the council says some funding is likely to still be available, and so has decided to accept more applications.

Existing applicants should not apply again, and will be contacted on the outcome of their case by 30 September.

Businesses that have already received grants through the Small Business Grant Fund or the Retail, Leisure and Hospitality Grant Fund are ineligible.

Applications for the reopened Discretionary Grant Fund will close at midnight on 28 August. To apply, and to view eligibility criteria, visit the Discretionary Grant Fund page

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