Lobby your Local Authority to include Agricultural Businesses selling to the hospitality industry or directly to the public in the Local Authority Discretionary Fund
On 2nd May the government announced a ‘Local Authority Discretionary Fund’. This is a 5% uplift of the amounts given to Local Authorities for the ‘Small Business Grant Fund’ and the ‘Retail, Hospitality and Leisure Business Fund’. It allows local authorities to give grants of £25,000, or any amount up to £10,000 to businesses that were outside the scope of the previous funds and allows discretion in which businesses will benefit from the fund.
The vast majority of agricultural businesses were outside the scope of the previous funds because they are exempt from paying business rates.
Many Local Authorities are still deciding which businesses to prioritise and how the funding will be allocated. This is an important moment for us to make the case that farms selling directly to the public, especially those that have lost markets as a result of the lockdown, should be eligible.
The lobbying for this will have to be at a Local Authority level, in many cases it will be useful to get a group of producers to co-sign a letter and send it to the decision makers in the council, as well as local MPs who may be able to back up your case.
Have a check on whether your Local Authority has released guidance yet and please let us know if they have done so and whether it does or doesn’t include agricultural businesses.