Decision details

Urgent Business - Discretionary Grants Scheme

Decision status: Recommendations Approved

Is Key decision?: No

Is subject to call in?: No


(Cabinet Member with Special Responsibility Councillor Hamilton-Cox)


Cabinet received a report from the Director of Corporate Services to consider options for the disbursement of the remainder of the Discretionary Business Grants allocation and to suggest an approach to allocate remaining monies. The Government allocated £1.68m to Lancaster City Council to disburse to businesses affected by COVID via an adopted Discretionary Grants Scheme. The scheme, which closely followed Government guidance, closed on 30 June with balances remaining.



The options, options analysis, including risk assessment and officer preferred option, were set out in the report as follows:


Option 1: Cabinet agree the proposals set out in Appendix A.

Advantages: This will allow for the swift allocation of the remaining grant in a way which maximises its effectiveness and provides support to businesses which are suffering due to the COVID crisis.


Disadvantages: None identified.  


Risks: As the funding is limited and the demand for support much greater than the available funding, there remains a risk that some types of businesses will not receive financial support. The options in the report attempt to address this risk as far as this is possible within the limited financial allocations.  


Option 2: Do not agree the proposals set out in Appendix A

Advantages: None


Disadvantages: The grant is not allocated and is paid back to Government and businesses do not receive support.


Risks: Compounding of already considerable risk to local economy as businesses struggle due to the COVID crisis.



The officer preferred option is Option 1. Approval of options will allow the process to be re-opened and grants to be awarded to eligible businesses. It is recognised that appendix A proposes a number of options and allocations and that Cabinet might want to select some but not all of these options. Accordingly, it is important that any amendment to the proposals following discussion is recorded clearly in the Cabinet decision. 


The Chair of Overview and Scrutiny has agreed to waive ‘call-in’ for any decision made. The Chief Executive is content with the decision to waive ‘call-in’. Special Urgency in accordance with Rule 15 of the Access to Information Rules has been invoked as any delay in decision making in this regard would seriously prejudice the public interest.


Councillor Hamilton-Cox proposed, seconded by Councillor Caroline Jackson:-



“That the proposals as set out in the report be approved with recommendation (1) amended to exclude allocation to businesses with a rateable value in excess of £51K.” 


Councillors then voted.


Resolved unanimously:


(1)             That the proposals as set out in Appendix A to the report and corresponding allocations be approved with businesses with a rateable value in excess of £51K excluded from the allocation. 


(2)             That the agreement of the final scheme be delegated to the Portfolio Holder for Sustainable Economic Prosperity and the Leader in consultation with the Directors of Economic Growth & Regeneration and Corporate Services.



Officers responsible for effecting the decision:


Director of Corporate Services

Director for Economic Growth & Regeneration


Reasons for making the decision:


The decision enables the Council to distribute the full grant to support businesses impacted by the COVID crisis whilst having regard to maximising support in an equitable and effective manner and is consistent with the Council’s Inclusive and Prosperous Local Economy priority.  The agreement of the Chair of the Overview & Scrutiny Committee to waive call-in enables the decision to be implemented with immediate effect.

Publication date: 22/07/2020

Date of decision: 14/07/2020

Decided at meeting: 14/07/2020 - Cabinet