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Additional Restrictions Grant Woking Borough Council Guidelines - February 2021

Introduction

1. The Council has been allocated £2,015,860 government funding for Additional Restrictions Grant (ARG) to support businesses in the Borough affected by Covid restrictions from November 2020. The funding is to provide support until 31 March 2022 and the government indicated that no further funding will be allocated. In January 2021 a further £895,349 has been granted as ARG top-up grant.

2. The ARG scheme is in addition to other grants which are available during this period. Details of all active grant schemes can be found here: https://www.woking.gov.uk/localrestrictionsgrants. It is aimed at those businesses which have been required to close but are not eligible for other grant schemes and businesses that do not have to close but which are severely impacted by the restrictions. The government guidance can be found here: https://www.gov.uk/guidance/check-if-youre-eligible-for-the-coronavirus-...

3. Local councils can use the funding for discretionary grants and also for wider business support activities. Where the funding is used for direct business support grants it is for the Council to determine which businesses to target and to determine the level of funding.

4. The Council is opening an application process during February 2021 and will determine the allocation from the fund for this phase depending on the level of applications. It is intended that there will be future opportunities to apply for grants in support of the recovery during 2021/22 and some funding will be used for wider business activities.

Which businesses will receive this funding?

5. The Council will allocate funding to businesses in Woking which have been required to close but have not been eligible for other grant support since 5 November 2020.

6. Businesses in the supply chain for the retail, hospitality and leisure sectors which have not been required to close, but where activity has been severely impacted by the restrictions, will also be eligible.

7. The Council will prioritise the following types of businesses for grants from within this funding pot:

  • Businesses in shared offices or other flexible workspaces which do not have their own business rates assessment (examples could include units in industrial parks, science parks and incubators)
  • Regular market traders who do not have their own business rates assessment.
  • Bed & Breakfasts which pay Council Tax instead of business rates.


8. The Additional Restrictions Grant will support businesses which can demonstrate they have:

  • High fixed property-related costs
  • Experienced a significant loss of income
     

9. It is intended that grants support local businesses whose intention it is to trade and do business in Woking. Local businesses which transact a high proportion of their business in Woking will be prioritised for support through this scheme.

10. It is important all businesses applying give as much information as possible and ensure they meet the criteria.

Eligibility

11. Businesses who have applied for the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme or the Self Employed Income Support Scheme are eligible to apply for this scheme.

12. Grants will be prioritised to the following businesses:

  • Small and micro businesses, as defined in Section 33 Part 2 of the Small Business, Enterprise and Employment Act 2015 and the Companies Act 2006.
  • Businesses with ongoing fixed property-related costs
  • Businesses which can demonstrate that they have suffered a significant fall in income due to the Covid-19 crisis
     

13. To be a small business, under the Companies Act 2006, a business must satisfy two or more of the following requirements in a year:

  • Turnover: Not more than £10.2 million
  • Balance sheet total: Not more than 5.1 million
  • Number of employees: a headcount of staff of less than 50.
     

14. To be a micro business, under the Companies Act 2006, a business must satisfy two or more of the following requirements:

  • Turnover: Not more than £632,000
  • Balance sheet total: Not more than £316,000
  • Number of employees: a headcount of staff of not more than 10
     

15. Businesses must have been trading on 5 November 2020.

16. Businesses which have been in receipt of a grant from the Council for the November lockdown (5 November – 2 December), December restrictions (19 December – 4 January) or January lockdown (5 January – 15 February) will not be eligible for further support through the ARG fund at this time.

17. Professional Services (e.g. solicitors), Financial Services (e.g. banks), Medical Services (e.g. dentists), Estate and letting agents are not eligible for this grant scheme.

18. Grants are not intended to provide financial support to individuals i.e. wage support. The Self-Employed Income Support Scheme and Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme are in place to provide those who are self-employed and employees with income support. Company Directors are currently not covered by the scheme but this will be reviewed for future application rounds.

19. Companies that are in administration, are insolvent or where a striking off notice has been made are not eligible for funding under this scheme.

How much funding will be provided to businesses?

20. The Council will base the grant awarded on the grants provided for similar businesses under the LRSG (Closed) scheme for the period 5 November 2020 – 15 February 2021.

RATEABLE VALUE   
 <15,000 >15,000 <51,00051,000>
November lockdown (5 November to 2 December 2020)£1,334£2,000£3,000
Tier 3/4 (19 December 2020 to 4 January 2021)£810£1,214£1,821
January lockdown (5 January 2021 to 15 February 2021)£2,001£3,000£4,000
Lump sum£4,000£6,000£9,000
 £8,145£12,214£18,321

21. The rateable value of the property occupied by the business will be used to determine the level of grant provided. If there is no rateable value the Council will consider the evidenced fixed property costs (e.g. rent, service charges) to determine the support provided.

22. In exceptional cases the Council may consider loss of income to determine the level of grant provided.

23. In the event that the scheme is oversubscribed the level of grants may be reduced to enable more businesses to be supported.

24. Small and Micro businesses with lower fixed property costs may be offered a smaller grant.

How will Grants be Provided?

25. There is an application process for this grant and the form is at:
https://www.woking.gov.uk/localrestrictionsgrants
The form, including the declaration, must be fully completed with all the required information to be considered for a grant. Evidence of declared amounts will be required before grants are paid.

26. The application process will enable the Council to undertake pre-payment checks to confirm eligibility and to determine how to use its discretion in relation to the appropriate level of grants.

27. The business must complete the declaration that by accepting the grant payment, the business confirms that they are eligible for the grant scheme, including that any payments accepted will be in compliance with State aid requirements.

The Application Process

28. There will be a closing date of Sunday 28th February 2021 (11:59 pm) for businesses to apply for a grant funding from this initial round of funding.

29. Applications will then be assessed as soon as possible against eligibility criteria by Officers during the week commencing 1st March 2021.

30. Recommendations will be presented to a “Grants Award Panel”, consisting of Senior Officers and Members, which will be convened as soon as possible after the applications have been assessed.

31. The decision of the Grant Awards Panel will be final. A business can only challenge a grant decision on a point of law through the courts.

32. All decisions of the Grant Awards Panel will be communicated by email to businesses as soon as possible. Payments will be made once all necessary supporting evidence has been received.

33. As a condition of funding we will expect the business applying to sign a declaration stating that they are not committing any fraud and that they are fully complying with any state aid limits.

34. The Council will also investigate if any business applying shall be liable for business rates, if not already liable, if applicable.

Conditionality of funding will be dependent on the business applying being committed to this.

Payments of Grant

35. All payments of grant will be made by a BACS transfer to the company or business nominated bank account. Businesses may be requested to provide a copy bank statement in the business name to verify the account before a payment can be made.

36. Grant income received by a business is taxable therefore funding received through this scheme will be subject to tax. Only businesses which make an overall profit once grant income is included will be subject to tax.
Managing the risk of fraud

37. Woking Borough Council will not accept deliberate manipulation and fraud. Any business caught falsifying their records to gain grant money will face prosecution and any funding issued will be subject to claw back, as may any grants paid in error.

Use of Data

38. The Department for Business, Energy & Industrial Strategy (BEIS) may be given access to the data that you provide in applying for this grant. They will store it securely and will process it for monitoring and evaluation purposes only. This includes, but is not limited to, follow up evaluation surveys relating to the business support grant schemes.