Additional Restrictions Grant (Discretionary) (ARG)

The Additional Restrictions Grant scheme is closed to new applications as of 23:59 on Sunday 28 February 2021.

With no further government funding, Ashford has a limited ARG budget available and as such will provide targeted support to those businesses likely to be most affected by the extension of some Coronavirus restrictions for a 28-day period between 21 June 2021 – 18 July 2021.

We have contacted and issued payment to those businesses we have identified as being eligible for this round of ARG for the period 21 June 2021 – 18 July 2021.

The deadline for this funding closed at 5pm on Friday 23 July 2021.

ARG Eligibility Criteria

  1. This funding is available to businesses regardless of whether they have previously received Local Restrictions Support Grant (LRSG), Restart Grant or Additional Restrictions Grant (ARG). Businesses will be considered based on their fixed costs* and the impacts on their operations.
  2. This funding is only eligible for businesses that have previously been successful in being awarded an ARG or Restart Grant from Ashford Borough Council. A new open application process will not be able to take place due to the financial limitations of the scheme and the large number of successful existing applicants.
  3. Businesses in the defined sectors that are affected by the extension of the current Coronavirus Restrictions from 21 June to 18 July 2021. This grant will not be administered for periods of impact before these dates.
  4. The business must be trading in the Ashford Borough Council area.
  5. The business must have been trading** on and before the 1 April 2021.
  6. Businesses that will be eligible for this grant funding are:

    Business Eligibility Sectors
    Sector Definition Supply Chain

    Events and Entertainment

    This includes nightclubs, professional event venues, theatres and cinemas.

    Supply chain businesses directly linked to these venue types will be considered dependant on fixed costs*, and the impact of the current restrictions on their ability to operate their services.

    Wedding and Conferencing Venues

    These are venues with a separate room, building or structure dedicated for the purposes of hosting wedding receptions, funeral wakes, other major life events or business meetings and conferences.

    Supply chain businesses directly linked to these venue types will be considered dependant on fixed costs*, and the impact of the current restrictions on their ability to operate their services.

    Domestic and International Travel and Tourism

    This includes travel agents, tour operators and group travel businesses as well as businesses that conduct indoor guided tours and heritage railways. The business should organise and/or conduct most of its travel and tourism activities abroad or for larger groups of over 30 people and thus not be able to operate normally during the current restrictions.

    Supply chain businesses directly linked to the domestic or international travel industry will be considered dependant on fixed costs*, and the impact of the current restrictions on their ability to operate their services.



  7. Businesses must not have exceeded the thresholds within the Subsidy Control / Subsidy Allowances (formerly known as State Aid). ***

* ‘Fixed Costs’ are any costs relating to the operation of the business that cannot be cancelled during this period. These could include property costs such as rent commercial premises, utilities, etc. Fixed costs do not include employee costs, personal income or dividends.

** ‘Trading’ could include where your business has furloughed staff, is trading using online click-and-collect services or where it's managing accounts, preparing to reopen or planning and implementing COVID-secure measures.

*** State Aid regulations have changed following the UK’s departure from the EU. As such businesses will need to check they are complying with the allowances set out under the EU-UK Trade and Co-operation Agreement (TCA). Three allowance levels can be considered which include: the Small Amounts of Financial Assistance Allowance, the COVID-19 Business Grant Allowance and the COVID-19 Business Grant Special Allowance. It is the business’ responsibility to ensure they comply with the criteria set out in those schemes and inform the Local Authority accordingly prior to payment being made. If these rules are breached the responsibility lies with the applicant and, in line with the legislations, the Council can take action to recover the funding. An explanation of the new subsidy allowances can be found on page 13 of the ARG Guidance to Local Authorities.

Exclusions to the Additional Restrictions Grant (Discretionary)

  • Businesses that have already received grant payments that equal the maximum permitted levels of subsidy (former State Aid, now Subsidy Control or Subsidy Allowances) will not be eligible to receive funding.
  • For the avoidance of doubt, businesses that are in administration, insolvent or where a striking-off notice has been made, are not eligible for funding under this scheme.
  • ARG funding should not be used as a wage support mechanism, for capital projects that do not provide direct business support, or to fund projects whereby Local Authorities are the recipients.

Policy

View the Additional Restrictions Grant (Discretionary) Restart Policy [PDF] 682KB.

Queries

All enquiries about this grant funding and this policy should contact the Economic Development Team using the email address discretionary.grants@ashford.gov.uk.

Frequently Asked Questions

+ How do I know if my business is eligible for the Additional Restrictions Grant (Discretionary) (ARG)?

Ashford Borough Council’s policy for this grant is available online. It outlines two main sets of criteria businesses will need to meet in order to be eligible for the ARG from 21 June to 18 July 2021.

+ Can you give me examples of eligible businesses?

Examples could include:

A nightclub that is required to remain closed under the restrictions meaning it cannot operate normally.

A hotel that has separate rooms specifically for weddings or conferences which would see delayed bookings for such events and thus be severely impacted.

A coach tour company that can operate but their activities would be severely impacted by the ongoing restrictions.

+ How will you decide how much money a business gets?

As this is a discretionary fund, the council will take a number of factors into account when deciding on the amount of grant funding to award an eligible business. Where the business is liable to pay business rates, the same levels as the main LRSG will apply (see the policies for both schemes). If the business is not liable to pay business rates then the business size, together with any rents paid and projected impact on income will be used to assess the level of grant.

+ What are 'fixed costs'?

‘Fixed Costs’ are any costs relating to the operation of the business that cannot be cancelled during this period. These could include property costs such as rent commercial premises, utilities, etc. Fixed costs do not include employee costs, personal income or dividends.

+ I wasn't open for customers on 1 April 2021. Would I have been considered as 'trading'?

‘Trading’ could include where your business has furloughed staff, is trading using online click-and-collect services or where it's managing accounts, preparing to reopen or planning and implementing COVID-secure measures.

+ Why has this scheme closed to new applications?

The Additional Restrictions Grant Scheme was open to applications from November 2020 until 28 February 2021. We have received a high volume of applications and, due to the financial limitations available for this grant, we have had to close to new applicants.

If you believe you are eligible and have not already applied, please email discretionary.grants@ashford.gov.uk.

+ Why is your scheme different to other councils’ schemes?

The Government has provided every council with a sum of money to provide financial support to businesses over the coming months, triggered by the latest lockdown measures. The guidance to Local Authorities explains that councils have discretion to determine which businesses to support and how much funding to provide. Ashford has sought to provide assistance through this scheme to as many businesses as possible that are likely to be highly impacted by the lockdown measures.

+ Are Parish councils eligible for this fund?

Yes Parish councils are eligible as long as they meet the criteria set out in our policy. Ashford Borough Council and Kent County Council premises will not be eligible.

+ Are self-employed businesses eligible for this fund?

Yes self-employed businesses are eligible as long as they meet the criteria set out in our policy. This scheme is not intended to pay the wages of employees, it is there to support businesses with significant fixed costs.  Other schemes are available to cover wages for furloughed or Self-employed.

+ How will this grant be distributed if two or more businesses share a property?

The council will make an assessment based on the application received. Where there is a business that is liable to pay business rates, that business would be able to apply for the LRSG or the ARG. Any additional businesses operating from those premises would need to apply and provide a clear explanation of their situation and demonstrate the impact lockdown is having on their business.

+ If I don’t agree with the amount of funding I’ve been given, what do I do?

The policy on the website explains the appeals process whereby you will need to send an email to discretionary.grants@ashford.gov.uk stating your case for receiving more funding and providing additional evidence to support this. Appeals need to be submitted within 7 days of receiving the notification that a grant would be paid. Appeals will not be considered if there is no new evidence provided. Appeals will be taken to a panel, chaired by the council’s Director of Finance and Economy who will make a decision. You would then receive an email informing you of the outcome and if more funding is being given to you then that would be issued within the following 7-14 days.

+ Is this grant subject to tax?

Yes this grant funding is subject to tax and will need to be considered for tax returns purposes. Only businesses that make an overall profit once grant income is included will be subject to tax.

+ Can the council take back the money?

Applicants are required to provide true and accurate information as part of the application process. The council will do necessary checks to assess the application and HMRC will likely do follow-up checks on these grants. If it is found that the information supplied in the applications form was incorrect then the council can claim back the money it has issued.

+ What are the Subsidy Control / Subsidy Allowances and State Aid?

State Aid regulations have changed following the UK’s departure from the EU. As such businesses will need to check they are complying with the allowances set out under the EU-UK Trade and Co-operation Agreement (TCA).

Three allowance levels can be considered which include:

  • the Small Amounts of Financial Assistance Allowance
  • the COVID-19 Business Grant Allowance
  • the COVID-19 Business Grant Special Allowance.

It is the business’ responsibility to ensure they comply with the criteria set out in those schemes and inform the Local Authority accordingly prior to payment being made. If these rules are breached the responsibility lies with the applicant and, in line with the legislations, the Council can take action to recover the funding.

An explanation of the new subsidy allowances can be found on page 13 of the ARG guidance to Local Authorities.

+ What do ‘in administration’, ‘insolvent’ and ‘striking-off notice’ mean?

  • In administration: When a company goes into administration, they have entered a legal process (under the Insolvency Act 1986) with the aim of achieving one of the statutory objectives of an administration. This may be to rescue a viable business that is insolvent due to cashflow problems. An appointment of an administrator (a licensed insolvency practitioner) will be made by directors, a creditor or the court to fulfil the administration process.
  • Insolvent: An insolvent company is one that’s in danger of closing down. Classic tests for insolvency are:
    • being unable to meet financial obligations as they fall due
    • where the total value of company assets is less than money owed

An insolvent company could take action including seeking a Company Voluntary Arrangement (CVA) or place the company in administration, change repayment terms with HMRC for unpaid tax and other such measures.

  • A striking-off notice applies to a company, registered on Companies House, that no longer carries on business or is in operation. If a company is neither carrying on business nor operation, the registrar may take action to strike a company off the register. The registrar may take this action if they have reasonable cause to believe that a company is not carrying on business or is in operation. If you are registered on Companies House, this will appear on your record.
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