Agenda and minutes

Urgency Committee - Wednesday, 23rd September, 2020 5.30 pm

Venue: Online only - Due to Covid-19, this meeting will be held remotely and will be livestreamed here: (Copy and paste the link in your browser). View directions

Contact: Elizabeth Jackson, Democratic Services Manager  Tel 01423 500600; Email

No. Item


Appointment of Chair:

To consider the appointment of a Chair for the duration of the meeting.


15/20 – APPOINTMENT OF CHAIR:  The Mayor, Councillor Stuart Martin, was unanimously appointed Chair for the meeting.

(5.32 pm)





Apologies for Absence and Notification of Substitutes:


There were none.


(5.34 pm)



Declarations of Interest:

Members to advise of any declarations of interest.


There were no declarations of interest.


(5.34 pm)



Minutes: pdf icon PDF 115 KB

of the meeting of 12 August 2020.


The Minutes of the meeting of the Urgency Committee held on 12 August 2020 were approved as a correct record and signed by the Chair.


(Five Members voted for the motion and there were six abstentions)


(5.34 pm – 5.35 pm)



Exempt Information:

To determine whether to exclude the press and public during the consideration of any exempt information items.


There was no exempt information.

(5.35 pm)



Public Arrangements - Questions:

To consider any questions under Standing Order 27.


There were no questions to consider under Standing Order 27.

(5.36 pm)





Discretionary Business Grants Scheme 2020/21: pdf icon PDF 183 KB

The Revenues, Welfare and Customer Services Manager to submit a written report. 



Further to Minute 14/20, the Revenues, Welfare and Customer Services Manager presented a written report in which approval was sought to increase the level of grant awarded to eligible businesses under the Harrogate Borough Council Discretionary Business Grant Scheme 2020/21.  The original scheme had been approved by Urgency Committee on 12 June 2020, with revisions approved at Urgency Committee on 12 August 2020, and provided support for businesses affected by COVID-19 who were unable to access other grant funding.  To be eligible for support businesses had to be defined as small or micro businesses, have high ongoing property costs and could demonstrate that they had suffered a loss of income due to COVID-19.


Harrogate Borough Council had been allocated £2,370,250 from the Local Authority Discretionary Grants Fund, and had the discretion to allocate funding to business types as set out at paragraphs 5.6 and 5.7 of the report.  The scheme closed on 28 August 2020 as required by the Government and following the closure it was not possible to revise the scheme to widen support to other businesses.  Grants totalling £900,000 had been made to 157 businesses, with a small number still at assessment stage, meaning there was a further £1.4 million remaining from which to award grants.  All unclaimed grant funding had to be returned to Central Government after 30 September 2020.


The Scheme allowed the Council the right to vary the grant level based on the number of applications received and therefore it was proposed to increase the upper grant levels for the various business types as set out at paragraphs 5.13 and 5.14 of the report.


It had been agreed that the matter was urgent as to wait for the next scheduled meeting of Council on 14 October 2020 would mean the Council would not meet the Government’s deadline for grants to be paid by 30 September 2020 and would prevent additional financial support from being made to businesses at a time of economic crisis.


The Revenues Welfare and Customer Services Manager responded to questions on the changes to the scheme and confirmed that businesses which had already received grants would receive a top-up payment to the maximum grant for their business category.  The scheme had been actively marketed to local businesses through weekly newsletters to the local business sector, social media and stakeholders within relevant business sectors to ensure that all those who may have been eligible were aware of the grant funding.




That   (1) an increase in the grant level for eligible businesses of the Harrogate Borough Council Discretionary Business Grants Scheme 2020/21be approved; and


          (2) the increased grant level for the following business categories within the scheme as set out below be approved:


·       micro businesses - from £5,000 to £10,000

·       market traders - from £2,000 to £10,000

·       Bed and Breakfasts - from £5,000 to £10,000

·       Business occupying non-domestic premises with a rateable value of more than £15,000 – increase to £25,000



(5.36 pm – 6.00 pm)