Council coronavirus business support fund launched - applications now open

Published Thursday, 9 April 2020

A £1m City of York Council support fund for small and micro businesses which don’t qualify for government support has now been fully launched, with applications now open.  

A £1m City of York Council support fund for small and micro businesses which don’t qualify for government support has now been fully launched, with applications now open.

The City of York Council micro business grants scheme will deliver grants of up to £1000 into 1000 self-employed, micro and small businesses who need it most. 

Applications can be made through and are available to businesses which:

  • have 50 or fewer employees, including one person business/self-employed;
  • need support adapting to new trading arrangements;
  • are experiencing financial hardship due to coronavirus, and
  • do not qualify for any other government grant or rate relief support packages.
  • The form can also be used to apply for free membership to the Federation of Small Businesses, available to those with 30 or fewer employees. This will give between 500 and 1000 businesses, depending on the size of those that apply, access to a range of services covering everything from legal and advice to cyber protection and insurance.

Councillor Keith Aspden, Leader of City of York Council, said:

“With £66m of business rates relief applied, and the first batch of £48m grants arriving in businesses’ bank accounts, it is essential that we provide a local fund open to support the thousands of York businesses who do not qualify for government support.

“Grants are available to the first 1000 eligible businesses, so please don’t delay your application.

“We will continue to work with our partners to support our local businesses, so they can secure cashflow, adapt to the current crisis and protect jobs.  We have already successfully lobbied the government to increase support for our 12,000 self-employed residents, deferred rent on all our commercial properties and acted quickly to make sure over £110m reaches businesses as soon as possible.”

Councillor Andrew Waller, executive member for the economy and strategic planning, said:

“York’s small, micro and one-person businesses are a vital part of our economy, worth £1bn and employing thousands of people.

“Many are facing serous hardship or need extra support to adapt and work differently, but not all have been reached by Government packages.

“For those who are still operating, we’re backing campaigns in the local media to connect them to customers. For details of free advertising, and all other business support in the city, please visit to see what is on offer.”

The council’s online application form will require company details, an outline of what the grant is needed for and the following evidence to demonstrate eligibility:

1. proof of hardship and ineligibility for other schemes

  • for self-employed applicants: Business must have a Unique Tax Reference Number UTRN from HRMC which will be used as a check for eligibility.
  • Registered business – must provide Company Number, or details from other registration schemes

2. Evidence that the business is trading, for example adverts, web site or accounts

The council will contact businesses to review the effectiveness of grants and collect evidence of the impact of our funding. 

The council has negotiated a deal which will allow 1,000 one person businesses, or 500 ten person businesses to join and access the free helpline for business advice.

Carolyn Frank, Development Manager North Yorkshire, Federation of Small Businesses, said:

“We are seeing more demand than ever for our services as small businesses and the self-employed find themselves needing advice and guidance, financial support and a powerful collective voice with government.

“We are very grateful to City of York Council for funding free FSB memberships for microbusinesses from their emergency funding, which is helping us reach even more businesses in York with specialist 1-2-1 advice and support.

"Our benefits in higher than normal demand due to the emergency situation include employment advice and protection, legal helpline and documents hub, FSB care medical advice line, cyber protection checks, FSB funding platform and cash advance and insurance services. 

“I’d encourage businesses to apply quickly to take advantage of this special scheme, because it is strictly limited to first come, first served. Of course businesses who miss out on the free scheme can still ask for our help, we have many free resources and a full priced membership starts from only £147 a year.”