Coronavirus (COVID-19)
Some of our services have temporarily stopped or changed. See our Changes to Council services page for services’ status and our Coronavirus updates section for latest information.

Financial Support and Advice

Discretionary Grant

On 13th May, the Government department for Business Energy and Industrial Strategy (BEIS) issued Guidance for the Local Authority Discretionary Grants Fund. This does not replace the Small Business Grant or the Retail, Hospitality and Leisure Grant, but is aimed at small businesses that were not eligible for these funds.

The Government has published frequently asked questions about the Discretionary Grant scheme.

In accordance with Government guidelines the following types of businesses were prioritised for grants:

  • Small businesses in shared offices or flexible workspaces.
  • Regular market traders (with fixed building cots in Tunbridge Wells borough, such as rent) who do not have their own business rates assessment
  • Bed & Breakfasts which pay Council Tax instead of business rates
  • Charity properties in receipt of Charitable Business Rate Relief

In Tunbridge Wells a second priority group will also be considered, following local priorities that have been identified:

  • Businesses who missed out on the original grant scheme through a legitimate issue with their VOA status on 11th March
  • Leisure, retail and hospitality businesses and those in the supply chain not eligible in other schemes
  • Cultural and creative businesses not eligible in other schemes.

The initial Grant Application deadline was Sunday 7th June and is currently closed for applications.


An appeals process has been set up for those businesses that are not satisfied with the outcome of their application. If you wish to appeal following notification on the decision on your application, please email and mark the subject of the email, APPEAL - Discretionary Grant.  Any appeal to the Council must be made within 7 days of notification of the decision.

Business Rates Holiday and Grants

The Government has confirmed that we and other councils will be responsible for administering coronavirus rate relief and grants to businesses.

If believe you are eligible but have not received correspondence, please email the Business Rates team

Support for retail, hospitality and leisure businesses

The business rates holiday for the 2020-21 tax year is specifically for hereditaments in the retail, leisure and hospitality industry. The business rate relief for businesses within these sectors will be automatically applied to your bill, irrespective of rateable value, and you do not need to do anything.

Businesses within the retail, leisure and hospitality sectors with a rateable value up to £15,000 will be eligible for a grant of £10,000

Apply for the £10,000 grant

Businesses within the retail, leisure and hospitality sectors with a rateable over £15,000 and under £51,000 will be eligible for grant of up to £25,000.

Apply for the £25,000 grant

The Business Rates team will be asking for your bank details in order to supply this to you and will contact you, if you fit the criteria.

Further details are available on the HM Government Business Support website here and here:

Small Business Grant Scheme

The Small Business Grant Scheme is for businesses that pay little or no business rates. This is for hereditaments, regardless of sector, that currently receive small business rate relief (SBBR) and rural rate relief (RRR). This provides a one-off grant of £10,000 to eligible businesses. The Business Rates team will be writing to you if you are eligible and will be asking for your bank details to supply this to you.

Apply for the Small Business Grant Scheme

Further details are available on the HM Government Business Support website here:

See the FAQs on the Grant Funding Schemes

Kent & Medway Growth Hub Business Advice Line

Phone 03333 602 300

A dedicated Covid 19 telephone helpline is available Monday to Friday 8.30am until 5pm where businesses can speak to someone who can:

  • advise on the type of business support available
  • signpost businesses to the correct provider of any support measures
  • offer a call back from an adviser to talk through options

A live web-chat service is also manned by business advisers dedicated to providing Covid 19 advice that can be accessed at the following link:

The business helpline was launched on 25 March 2020 and is providing guidance and advice around key topics such as crisis management, cash flow and debt management, staff retention strategies etc. The business advisers can also signpost and broker to appropriate private sector expertise such as banks, lawyers, accounts and insurers.

Since the launch of the helpline, 325 borough businesses have made contact with the Kent & Medway Growth Hub.

The helpline service is funded by Kent local authorities (including TWBC) and Kent County Council.

New Business Support Hub

A new business support site for Kent & Medway:

This site is curated and populated by the Kent Business Community, moderated by the Kent & Medway Growth Hub. Its purpose is to act as a repository of information, advice and guidance provided by the private sector as part of a collective response to the Covid-19 crisis. The site includes advice via downloads, blogs and videos.

HM Government Business Support website

The HM Government Business Support website provides detailed information about all the types of financial support available at present: including:

  • Coronavirus Bounce Back Loan
  • Coronavirus Future Fund
  • Coronavirus Business Interruption Loan Scheme
  • Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme
  • Statutory Sick Pay Rebate
  • Time to Pay
  • VAT Deferral
  • Business Rates Holiday Nurseries
  • Deferral of Self Assessment payment
  • FAQs

Self-employment Income Support Scheme (SEISS)

The government has now provided further details of the support that will be provided for those that are self-employed. The details of this scheme can be found on their Self Employment Income Support Scheme page.

The Federation of Small Businesses website also provides helpful information for the self-employed:

Other useful business websites

Several business organisations are providing helpful information and guidance for businesses also. For example the Kent & Medway Growth Hub, the Federation of Small Businesses and the South East Local Enterprise Partnership

Contact Us

We have set up an email address should you have questions that the links or information here do not answer. We are happy to receive your emails and will do all we can to help.

Please understand that we may not be able to give you a definitive response to questions if we haven’t received the detailed information from central government.

Royal Tunbridge Wells Together Business Improvement District

If you have received correspondence from the Business Improvement District (BID) and you wish to discuss it you should contact the BID direct.

A - Z of council services