Businesses are being urged to apply for a new coronavirus grant which is available for a limited time.

The Local Authority Discretionary Grants Fund offers grants of up to £25,000 to firms with fewer than 50 staff that haven’t received either the Coronavirus Small Business or Retail, Hospitality and Leisure grants.

Cumbria Chamber of Commerce, which alongside other chambers across the UK lobbied for the support, is urging people to apply.

Chief executive Rob Johnston said: “We’ve come across many businesses that, through no fault of their own, were refused coronavirus grants.

“Sometimes they fell foul of the eligibility criteria because their name wasn’t on the business rates bill – their landlord paid instead – or their rateable value was above the threshold.

“We’ve also spoken to B&Bs that didn’t qualify because they were paying council tax rather

than business rates.

“We and other chambers lobbied government ministers to help these businesses. We made the case directly to Transport Secretary Grant Shapps, in his role as lead for the Northern Powerhouse, and this scheme is the Government’s response.

“We are delighted that they listened. These grants could make the difference between survival and going under for some.”

Each district council has been given a pot of money to distribute at their discretion. They are inviting businesses to apply this week and next. They will then assess the applications and award as many grants as they can.

Rob said: “If demand is high, there will be few – if any – grants of £25,000, the maximum under the scheme, but we expect to see plenty around the £10,000 mark.”