A third round of the Additional Restrictions Grant (ARG) scheme has been opened to support more business sectors who, up until now, have not been eligible for the Local Restrictions Support Grant (LRSG) or the first Additional Restrictions Grant (ARG) rounds.
The grant is to support businesses impacted by the Covid-19 restrictions from 26 December 2020 to 15 February 2021.
The ARG is a discretionary funding scheme for local authorities to support businesses in their local economies during periods of lockdown related to the Covid-19 pandemic. This grant is in addition to the Local Restrictions Support Grant (LRSG) funding for businesses with a business rates account that are forced to close.
East Cambridgeshire District Council has been awarded £2,594,853 for the ARG scheme. The payment is for the 2020/2021 and 2021/2022 financial years. Once we exit the national lockdown the Council will not receive additional funding if we re-enter national or local restrictions.
This grant scheme is for businesses who experienced a significant loss of income (over 30%) directly related to or as a result of the Tier 4 and National Lockdown restrictions in place from 26 December 2020 to 15 February 2021 and are either:
- A business that does not have a business rates account which has been legally required to close during the Tier 4 and National Lockdown period from 26 December 2020 to 15 February 2021.
- A customer facing business (with or without a business rates account), whose primary activity is provision of in-person services for the sale of goods or services to the public on a face to face basis, that was allowed to be open during Tier 4 restrictions and lockdown period, but was severly impacted by reductions in footfall or by the wider changes in behaviour of customers as a result of the restrictions put in place to control the spread of Covid-19 from 26 December 2020 to 15 February 2021.
In order to be eligible for a grant under this scheme, businesses must:
- (for businesses with fixed premises), be operating from a premises or market stall located within the East Cambridgeshire or (for mobile businesses), be based at a home address within East Cambridgeshire.
- Have been open for business as usual before the restrictions came into force on 26 December 2020.
- Have experienced a significant loss of income (over 30%) directly related to or as a result of the Tier 4 and National Lockdown restrictions.
- Be able to demonstrate that they have had ongoing fixed business costs, for example, rent or other costs that they have had to meet during the period of Tier 4 and National Restrictions relating to the Covid-19 pandemic, commencing on 26 December 2020.
- Businesses that have not been legally required to close, must have been open and providing services to customers during the Tier 4 and Lockdown period.
Businesses and venues which must close
Non-essential retail, such as clothing and homeware stores, vehicle showrooms (other than for rental), betting shops, tailors, tobacco and vape shops, electronic goods and mobile phone shops, and market stalls selling non-essential goods. These venues can continue to operate click-and-collect (where goods are pre-ordered and collected off the premises) and delivery services.
Hospitality venues such as cafes, restaurants, pubs, bars and social clubs, with the exception of providing food and drink for takeaway (before 10pm, and not including alcohol), click-and-collect, drive-through or delivery.
Accommodation such as hotels, hostels, guest houses and campsites. Except for specific circumstances, such as where these act as someone's main residence, where the person cannot return home, for homeless people, or where it is essential to stay there for work purposes.
Leisure and sports facilities such as leisure centres and gyms, swimming pools, tennis and basketball courts, golf courses, fitness and dance studios, climbing walls, archery, driving, and shooting ranges.
Entertainment venues such as theatres, concert halls, cinemas, museums and galleries, casinos, amusement arcades, bingo halls, bowling alleys, skating rinks, gokarting venues, soft play centres and areas, circuses, fairgrounds, funfairs, zoos and other animal attractions, water parks and theme parts. Indoor attractions at botanical gardens, heritage homes and landmarks must also close, though outdoor grounds of these premises can stay open.
Personal care facilities such as hair, beauty, tanning and nail salons. Tattoo parlours, spas, massage parlours, body and skin piercing services must also close. It is also prohibited to provide these services in other peoples' homes.
Community centres and halls must close except for a limited number of exempt activities. Libraries can also remain open to provide access to IT and digital services - for example for people who do not have it at home, and for click-and-collect.
This list is not exhaustive - you can find a detailed list of the businesses that will need to close on GOV.UK
If your business was legally required to close and you do have a business rates account, you may be eligible for a Local Restrictions Support Grant.
Customer facing businesses, with or without a business rates account, whose primary activity is provision of in-person services for the sale of goods or services to the public on a face to face basis, who have remained open and can demonstrate their business has been severely impacted financially (over 30% loss of income) by the restrictions put in place from 26 December 2020 to 15 February 2021 to control the spread of Covid-19.
Applicants must be able to demonstrate one or more of the following:
- They are operating in an affected sector but able to stay open as an essential business.
- The public are required to enter the business premises to purchase goods or services.
- They are able to demonstrate that trade has dropped due to an inability to deliver customer services (that cannot be delivered online) to customers due to social distancing requirements and or restrictions on movement.
- They supply or trade with businesses that were required to close from 26 December 2020 to 15 February 2021.
- Their suppliers were legally required to close from 26 December 2020 to 15 February 2021.
Businesses will be required to provide evidence of their fixed property costs, business related costs and loss of income.
The Council recognises that a much wider range of businesses is allowed to be open during Tier 4 and Lockdown restrictions (for example, manufacturing, construction, professional services and so on) but these businesses are not eligible for grant support under this scheme.
This is because their main business is not reliant on offering in-person services to customers that are heavily impacted by the Covid-19 restrictions in force.
Which businesses are not included in the scheme?
- Businesses that have chosen to close but not been required to, will not be elgible for this grant. This includes business premises which were already closed directly before the restrictions were imposed.
- Businesses that are able to continue to trade because they do not depend on providing direct in-person services from premises and can operate their services effectively remotely.
- Financial services (e.g.bank), Medical services (e.g. vets, dentist), Professional services (e.g. solicitor), Estate and Letting Agents and Post Office sorting offices are not eligible for grants.
- Businesses whose primary function is not to provide goods or services to members of the public within their premises (e.g. office and manufacturing businesses).
- Businesses that have not been able to demonstrate a significant loss of income (at least 30%) due to Covid-19.
- Land or premises used for storage or for personal use.
- Empty premises.
- Businesses that have exceeded the permitted state aid limit.
- Companies that are in administration, are insolvent or where a striking-off notice has been made.
- Businesses eligible to receive grants under the Local Restrictions Support Grant (closed businesses) scheme cannot claim under this scheme.
Making an application
The Council is inviting eligible buisnesses to submit an application to the Council. You can either do this online using the application form at the bottom of this page, or by requesting an application form by email at firstname.lastname@example.org or by telephone on 01353 665555.
The priority categories and the grant allocation details are as follows:
Businesses that were legally required to close because of the Tier 4 and National Lockdown regulations from 26 December 2020 to 15 February 2021 but do not have a business rates account.
|Businesses operating from a commercial property - £6,000|
Businesses operating from a domestic property - £5,000
Community facilities (village halls, church halls, meeting rooms, scout or guide huts etc) - £5,000
Customer facing businesses (with or without a business rates account) that were allowed to be open during Tier 4 and National Lockdown regulations, but were severely impacted by reductions in footfall or by the wider changes in behaviour of customers as a result of the restrictions put in place to control the spread of Covid-19 from 26 December 2020 to 15 February 2021
|All eligible businesses - £4,000|
These grants will be paid as one-off grants to cover the period 26 December 2020 to 15 February 2021. If the current lockdown is extended, additional payments will be made on a pro rata basis.
The closing date for applications is 5pm Friday 19 March 2021.
After the closing date, if funds remain, the Council will review the scheme and open a further application round.
There is a requirement for all grants made under this Additional Restrictions Grant scheme be State Aid compliant. The EU State Aid rules no longer apply to subsidies in the UK following the end of the transition period. However, the UK remains bound by its international commitments, including subsidy obligations. Under these obligations’ subsidies can still be paid in line with the previous rules under state aid. Under these regulations you (or your company) cannot receive more than €200,000 (approximately £180,000) subsidy in any three-year period (i.e. your current fiscal year and previous two fiscal years).
However, following the outbreak of the Coronavirus, to aid businesses affected by the Coronavirus outbreak subsidies can be made based on a Temporary Framework scheme. This framework allows for an additional €800 000 (approximately £720,000) subsidy to be granted to undertakings that were not in difficulty (within the meaning of Article 2(18) of the General Block Exemption Regulation 3) on 31 December 2019. If you have received other state aid or subsidy that exceeds these limits, you will not be able to claim a grant under this scheme.
Managing the risk of fraud
The Council will not accept deliberate manipulation or fraud - and any business caught falsifying their records to gain grant money may face prosecution and any funding issued will be subject to claw back, as may any grants paid in error. All information is subject to internal and external audit checks.
By applying for an Additional Restrictions Grant all applicants give authority to East Cambridgeshire District Council to share data for efficient system administration and to protect the Public Purse, subject to the GDPR. This will include sharing data with Anglia Revenues Partnership and other Local Authorities.
The Council will be required to share data with Government Departments for monitoring and other reasons. By applying for Additional Restrictions Grant all applicants give authority for this disclosure.
- Businesses in commercial properties will need their business rates account number
- Businesses in domestic properties will need a copy of their council tax bill
- Companies house registration number (where applicable)
- VAT registration number (where applicable)
- If not a company and not VAT registered, a document from HMRC showing your Unique Taxpayer Registration Number
- Date and amount of any grant funding or reliefs received from a public body over the last three years (for State aid declaration)
- Business bank account details and a copy of a recent bank statement
- Information regarding the nature of your business such as number of employees
- Details of your regular fixed costs, e.g. rent, mortgage, insurance and copies of invoices
- Summary financial information that can be used to give a description on the form of the impact of Covid-19 on the business and the continuing fixed costs it has been required to meet. This needs to include a comparison of takings from 26 December 2019 to 15 February 2020 and 26 December 2020 to 15 February 2021. This is likely to include figures drawn from order books, management accounts or bank statements
- If the business is permitted to remain open, proof that the business was operating from the property in the week commencing 21 December 2020, for example, receipts or delivery notes for business related supplies or services