On 31 October 2020, the Government announced the introduction of additional support for Local Authorities under national and Local Covid Alert Level 3 restrictions.
This support will take the form of a funding scheme in financial year 2020-2021 and can be used across financial years 20/21 and 21/22. The scheme is called the Additional Restrictions Grant (ARG).
Under the Additional Restrictions Grant, Local Authorities will receive a one-off lump sum payment. Local authorities can use this funding for business support activities. We envisage this will primarily take the form of discretionary grants but could also use this funding for wider business support activities.
The ARG is intended to support those businesses who may not have had to close but whose operations will have suffered a significant impact as a result of further restrictions.
Local Authorities have been allowed discretion over the allocation of the grant. It is intended that this funding should be used to support businesses affected by the restrictions until the end of the 2021/22 financial year. Reading Borough Council’s Additional Restrictions Grant policy was approved on 27 November 2020 and full details of the policy can be found here.
Three application windows have been available to make a claim, 30 Nov – 13 Dec, 4 Jan – 17 Jan and 8 Mar – 31 Mar. The application window is now temporarily suspended whilst we assess new applications, it is anticipated a new round of applications will be available subject to changes to eligibility criteria.
There are 5 types of businesses that may be eligible for this grant:
- Type A – Businesses mandated to close in shared work spaces which do not have their own business rates assessment and can demonstrate fixed building-related costs outside of their residential property costs. The assumed RV will be based on annual rent or mortgage payment due in the financial year.
- Type B – Bed & Breakfasts mandated to close which pay Council Tax instead of business rates will be considered. The assumed RV will be based on annual rental or mortgage payments due in the financial year.
- Type C – Regular market traders mandated to close who do not have their own business rates assessment, but with fixed locations in the borough. The assumed RV will be based on an annual rent/licence payment due in the financial year.
- Type D – Support for businesses which are ancillary to the hospitality, retail and leisure industries and who have not received any business grants administered by the Council since October 2020. This focuses upon businesses which have not specifically been required to close but have lost their main source of revenue as a result of national restrictions upon the industries to which they provide goods or services. Businesses may be local ratepayers or be able to demonstrate fixed building-related costs outside of their residential property costs. The rateable value will be that defined in the rating list, or an assumed RV based on an annual rent or mortgage payment due in the financial year (please note we have amended eligibility to include those business that previously received the Small Business Grant and Retail, Hospitality and Leisure Grant)
- Type E – A hardship fund for rate-paying and non rate-paying businesses including self-employed individuals who have not received support under the previous grant schemes administered by the Council, or the schemes outlined above or, in relation to self-employed individuals, central government grant schemes including the self-employed income support scheme, and require further support due to demonstrable financial vulnerability.
- Businesses will where appropriate need to demonstrate fixed building related costs outside of their residential property costs and provide significant evidence of financial vulnerability. In determining these applications, we will consider the impact that the failure of these businesses would have on the economic development of the borough and on the business rates revenue of the Council.
Application data will be shared with the Department of Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy who will store it securely and 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 that we have administered on their behalf.