Attention is drawn to the Small  Business Grant Fund (SMBGF) and the Retail, Hospitality and Leisure Grant Fund (RHLGF) set up for England by the UK Government in March 2020 as part of the UK Government's programme to support businesses through the current Covid-19 emergency.

The SMBGF provides grants of up to £10,000 for small businesses in England in receipt of either Small Businesses Rates Relief or Rural Rates Relief.

The RHGLF provides grants of up to £25,000 per property to businesses in England falling within the Retail, Hospitality and Leisure sector that would have been in receipt of the so-called Expanded Retail Discount and with a rateable value of less than £51,000 per property in question.

The UK Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Innovation (BEIS) has issued Guidance (March 2020) providing further details of these funds, making it clear that local authorities awarding the grants must comply with EU State Aid rules during the transition period (currently due to end on 31 December 2020) . This is because during that transition period the UK continues as part of the EU single market, even though it does not retain any formal voting rights at EU level.

The BEIS Guidance contains template self-certification forms for the grant-funding English local authorities to complete and lodge with the EU authorities confirming such compliance with EU State Aid rules.

This is an example of how the UK and EU authorities can work together to ensure that vital support is given to the business community during the period of the Covid-19 emergency and in line with the principles of the UK-EU Withdrawal Agreement.