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Grants FAQ

County Durham Growth Fund

Can I access capital grant support in County Durham?

Yes, the County Durham Growth Fund is a capital grant programme covering County Durham. SMEs already based in the county or planning to relocate to the Durham area could benefit from grants towards investment in capital items, subject to a minimum project size of £100,000. A simple test of whether your business is located in County Durham is to check which local authority business rates are paid too.

What types of capital investment are eligible for support from the County Durham Growth Fund?

The County Durham Growth Fund can support investments in land and buildings, premises leases, premises fit out costs, plant, equipment and machinery. The assets must be located in County Durham and mobile assets are generally not supportable. Assets must also be retained for at least five years, and for longer periods for some types of asset purchases.

How much grant support is available from the County Durham Growth Fund?

The County Durham Growth Fund can award grants of up to 45% of capital expenditure to small sized entities and up to 35% of capital expenditure to medium sized entities. This must also be balanced against job creation, with grants capped at £10,000 per new job created as a direct result of the grant supported project.

Does the County Durham Growth Fund have sector restrictions?

Yes, the County Durham Growth Fund is financed by European Regional Development Fund (‘ERDF’). The terms of the funding mean that certain sectors cannot be supported. The sectors which can’t be supported include, but are not limited to, agriculture, fisheries, retail, banking and insurance. Furthermore, entities which fail the ‘undertaking in difficulty’ state aid test are also not eligible for support, see below for more details.

How do I determine my SME status for grant support purposes?

To be classed as a small or medium sized enterprise (‘SME’) for grant support purposes, an entity must have fewer than 250 employees and either turnover of less than €50m or gross assets of less than €43m. The test is applied at group level and must be breached for two consecutive accounting periods to change between SME and non-SME (‘large’) statuses.

What is the undertaking in difficulty test?

The undertaking in difficulty test is an element of state aid law. It is important in the context of grant awards as businesses which meet any of the five criteria set out in the test may not be eligible for grant support. The test is a simplification of wider legislation designed to prevent the awarding of state aid (via grants or other means) to businesses which may fail. The most common scenario for a business failing the test is when accumulated losses exceed more than 50% of the total of share capital and share premium. If you think your business may meet the conditions of the undertaking in difficulty test then contact us for advice.

North of Tyne Growth Fund

Can I access capital grant support in Newcastle, Northumberland and North Tyneside?

Yes, the North of Tyne Capital Growth Fund is a capital grant programme covering Newcastle, Northumberland and North Tyneside local authority areas. SMEs already based in these areas or planning to relocate to the North of Tyne area could benefit from grants towards investment in capital items, subject to a minimum project size of £134,000. A simple test of whether your business is located in the North of Tyne area is to check if your business rates are payable to one of Newcastle, Northumberland or North Tyneside councils.

What types of capital investment are eligible for support from the North of Tyne Growth Fund?

The North of Tyne Growth Fund can support investments in land and buildings, premises leases, premises fit out costs, plant, equipment and machinery. The assets must be located in the North of Tyne region and mobile assets are generally not supportable. Assets must also be retained for at least five years, and for longer periods for some types of asset purchases.

How much grant support is available from the North of Tyne Growth Fund?

The County Durham Growth Fund can award grants of up to 30% of capital expenditure to small sized entities and up to 20% of capital expenditure to medium sized entities. This must also be balanced against job creation, with grants capped at £10,000 per new job created as a direct result of the grant supported project.

Does the North of Tyne Growth Fund have sector restrictions?

Yes, the North of Tyne Growth Fund is financed by European Regional Development Fund (‘ERDF’). The terms of the funding mean that certain sectors cannot be supported. The sectors which can’t be supported include, but are not limited to, agriculture, fisheries, retail, education, banking and insurance. Furthermore, entities which fail the ‘undertaking in difficulty’ state aid test are also not eligible for support, see below for more details.

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