The government has given us approximately £2,138,149 to provide discretionary relief to businesses affected by the Covid-19 pandemic, but who haven’t been eligible for any assistance from other Covid-19 relief schemes. The funding will help eligible businesses with their 2021-22 business rates bill.
We have been told to direct the funding towards businesses who have been adversely affected by the pandemic in a way that prevents success or development; harmfully or unfavourably and have been unable to adapt to that impact.
We have come up with a policy to allocate this money to businesses and we are now in a position to start making payments.
Businesses excluded from the scheme
The government has said that the following must be excluded from our scheme:
- businesses who have received or are otherwise eligible for:
- Expanded Retail Discount (those in the retail, hospitality and leisure sectors)
- Nursery Discount (Early Foundation Years Education providers), or
- the Airport and Ground Operations Support Scheme (AGOSS).
- unoccupied properties
- local, town, parish and county councils.
In addition to the exclusions we have to make, we will also be excluding the following sectors from receiving relief:
- Water and Waste Management
- Information and Communication
- Financial Services (and other A2 usage)
- Real Estate Activities
- Professional Services
- Public Administration
- Storage and Distribution
In order to come up with a scheme to help as many eligible ratepayers as possible, we have had to make some assumptions about the types of business that will and won’t be eligible for help.
If we have identified your business as eligible for relief
We are writing to businesses that we have identified as being eligible for a payment from the CARF scheme and we will apply the relief to your business rates account by the middle of August. You will receive a revised bill for the 2021/22 financial year to confirm the award. You do not need to do anything, unless your business:
- falls into an excluded category
- wishes to opt out of the scheme, or
- will exceed subsidy allowances.
If you have already paid your business rates for the 2021/22 financial year, granting this relief will create a credit on your account. This credit will:
- be allocated towards any arrears you have on your business rates account
- reduce any ongoing business rates liability (for 2022/23)
- create a credit on your account. This will be shown on your revised bill. You can claim this refund by completing a refund form
Opt out of relief
Please use our opt out form if:
- you receive a letter but do not want to receive the relief
- your business is in one of the excluded categories, but we have mistakenly identified it as eligible for relief, or
- your business will exceed the third subsidy threshold by receiving this relief (£12,243,000)
If your business will exceed the second subsidy threshold (£2,243,000) by receiving this relief, you will need to provide additional information to show us that you qualify for the relief. Please email us at email@example.com with the subject line ‘CARF Subsidy Query’ and confirm how much subsidy your business has received over the last three years. We will contact you if we need more evidence.
Providing discretionary relief to ratepayers is likely to amount to a subsidy. Any relief provided by us under the CARF Scheme will need to comply with the UK’s domestic and international subsidy control obligations.
Small Amounts of Financial Assistance Allowance
To administer a subsidy under the Small Amounts of Financial Assistance Allowance it is necessary for the Local Authority to establish that the award of subsidy will not result in the economic actor having received more than £343,000 of subsidy under the Small Amounts of Financial Assistance Allowance.
The Covid-19 Additional Relief Fund Allowance
For the purposes of this scheme, the COVID-19 Additional Relief Fund Allowance, permits an economic actor to receive additional relief of up to a further £1,900,000 for COVID-19 related losses.
This may be combined with the Small Amounts of Financial Assistance Allowance to permit an economic actor to receive up to £2,243,000 from the CARF Scheme (or less if they have already used some of their Small Amounts of Financial Assistance limit or claimed other COVID-19 related subsidies).
Covid-19 Additional Relief Fund Further Allowance
If an economic actor has reached the £2,243,000 limit set out above, then it may still be able to receive up to a further £10 million as a COVID-19 Additional Relief Fund Further Allowance under the CARF Scheme, if it satisfies the following conditions:
- the relief relates to uncovered fixed costs (i.e. costs not covered by profits or insurance etc) during the period of COVID-19 (commencing 1 March 2020). An economic actor may benefit from relief up to 70% of their uncovered costs (although this 90% limit does not apply to small businesses with fewer than 50 employees and less than £9 million turnover), and
- the enterprise has shown a decline in turnover during the eligible period of at least 30% compared to the same period in 2019.