The CLA is encouraging rural businesses to apply for the coronavirus Local Authority Discretionary Grants Fund via their local authorities to cope with the financial impacts of Covid-19.

The Discretionary Grants Fund (DGF) is in addition to the Small Business Grants Funds and the Retail, Hospitality and Leisure Grants Fund announced last month.

However, businesses which have successfully applied to the latter funds, as well as the Fisheries Response Fund, Domestic Seafood Supply Scheme, Zoos Support Fund and Dairy Hardship Fund, cannot apply for the DGF.

Successful applicants can get a grants of £25,000, £10,000 or any amount under £10,000. Local councils have discretion about how to prioritise this funding, and businesses are advised to contact their local council.

Funding allocations will be for the following types of businesses:

l small businesses in shared offices or other flexible workspaces, such as units in industrial parks or incubators;

l regular market traders;

l bed and breakfasts paying council tax instead of business rates;

l charity properties getting charitable business rates relief, which are not eligible for small business rates relief or rural rate relief.

The CLA, which represents 30,000 landowners, farmers and rural business across England and Wales, is urging owners of rural businesses to contact their local authorities about this additional funding, and details on how and when it can be applied for.

Local authorities will manage the applications differently. Eden District Council, which opened its application process on June 1 will only allow applications over a two-week period, whereas York City Council will allocate grants on a first come, first served basis.

CLA director for the north, Dorothy Fairburn, said: “We recognise the invaluable additional support government has provided to support businesses throughout this pandemic.

"We don’t want eligible rural businesses to miss out on these grants as it represents a lifeline to safeguard such businesses as well as their employees in future.

“We appreciate that local councils will have their work cut out in facilitating applications and accept that there would be challenges in the processing of it.

"We therefore encourage rural businesses to get in touch with their local councils to find how details on how they can apply for these grants.”

CLA members who require help and guidance about the scheme can contact the north regional office by telephoning (01748) 907070.