Urgent Telephone 4pm - 8.30am : 01233 331111

Additional Restrictions Grant (Discretionary) Policy

Ashford Additional Restrictions Grant (Discretionary) and Local Restriction Support Grant (Open) Policy

The Additional Restrictions Support grant scheme is closed to new applications as of 23:59 on Sunday 28 February 2021. We await clarification from government around further grant periods for those who have already received ARG. We will be in touch with eligible businesses once we know more.

This policy covers the period of the November National Lockdown (5 November 2020 to the 2 December 2020, the Tier 2, 3 and 4 Lockdown Periods and any further National Lockdown periods up until the 31 March 2021.  Following the second national lockdown between the 5 November 2020 and the 2 December 2020, the Ashford Borough Council area was firstly placed in Tier 3, and then Tier 4, and on the 5 January was placed into the third National Lockdown, providing new regulations and the requirement to set up this revised grant scheme policy to cover all periods.  The Council will determine the eligibility for either the Additional Restriction Grant (ARG) (Discretionary) or Local Restriction Support Grant (LRSG) (Open) during Tier 2 and 3 periods, once the application has been received. These two schemes are eligible for companies who have either been required to close, but do not pay business rates, or are able to stay open and have been significantly impacted by restrictions and the closure of other businesses.  Both schemes will follow the government guidance for these schemes (listed on the government website) and will award grants for each 14 day period Ashford Borough remains within the Tier 2 and 3 restrictions for the LRSG (Open) scheme, and for Tier 2, 3 and 4 periods and National Lockdown periods for the ARG (Discretionary) scheme.  Grants will be paid out at the levels set out within this policy depending on whether Ashford Borough is in Tier 2, 3, 4 or National Lockdown restrictions for both grants ARG (Discretionary) and LRSG (Open).

The Government recognised that some businesses that are required to close may not have commercial premises (and therefore won’t have a rateable value), and others won’t have been forced to close, but they will be significantly financially impacted. As such Local Authorities in Tier 2 and 3 areas have been allocated Local Restriction Support Grant (Open). Areas in Tier 2, 3, 4 and National Lockdown areas have also been allocated Additional Restrictions Grant (Discretionary).

These grant schemes are fully funded by Central Government and the funds will be administered by Ashford Borough Council in accordance with the guidance issued by the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy (BEIS).

View government guidance on the LRSG scheme.

View government guidance on the ARG scheme.

Timeline

Grants will be initially administered for 28 days for the November Lockdown, each 14 day period that Ashford Borough is in Tier 3 Very High Alert from the 2 December 2020, and all further 14 day periods that Ashford Borough is placed in either Tier 2, 3 or 4 restrictions. During the January 2021 National Lockdown period, grants will be initially administered for the first 42 day period and then any further announced lockdown period.  Any new applications for the Additional Restrictions Grant (Discretionary) or Local Restriction Support Grant (Open) will need to be submitted using the online form within 30 days of a national or local lockdown ceasing to be in place, or by the 31 March 2021, whichever is the sooner. In the event that you do not have access to the online form, a Microsoft Word or PDF version can be emailed to you as long as a request for the form is submitted up to 48 hours prior to the deadline. 

Applications will be considered as they are submitted and applicants notified of the outcome as soon as possible, with payments being made within a week of the decision notification.

This policy will support businesses during Local (Tier 2, 3 and 4) Alert periods and National Lockdown periods. During periods of Tier 4 Alert or National Lockdown, this policy will only apply for Additional Restrictions Grant, and the Local Restrictions Support Grant (Open) will be suspended. New applications are closed as of 23:59 on 28 February 2021.

Eligibility Criteria

  1. This funding is available for businesses that have been forced to close, where companies are not covered under the Local Restrictions Support Grant (Closed) scheme or Local Restrictions Support Grant (Closed Addendum) scheme, but have significant fixed costs which are not related to employment*.
  2. Businesses significantly affected** by business closures or restrictions caused by Local Tier 2, 3 or 4 systems or National Lockdown periods announced on or after the 31st October 2020 and that come into force on or after the 5th November 2020. This grant will not be administered for periods of impact before these dates. Each period of national lockdown and local (Tier 2, 3 or 4) restrictions will need to be in place for a period of at least 14 days for applications to be able to be received. Businesses eligible for this scheme will include those that provide products and services to the retail, hospitality, hotel, bed and breakfast, tourism and leisure sectors, or businesses in the events sector, that have been forced to close during a national lockdown or during a Tier 2, 3 or 4 Local lockdown.
  3. Businesses with a registered address in the Ashford Borough Council area will be eligible for these schemes. The business will need to be trading*** within the Ashford Borough. Where a business is registered in another council area (although has a presence in the Ashford Borough) the council will take a discretionary view on a case-by-case basis****.
  4. The business must have been actively trading on and before the first day before a national or local lockdown period is started. Where a local or national period seamlessly follows a previous national or local lockdown period, the date before the first lockdown period was started will be used to verify the business was trading.
  5. Both Grants will be paid subject to State Aid regulations, meaning the business needs to check that they comply with State Aid rules and inform the Local Authority accordingly prior to payment being made. If State Aid rules are breached the responsibility lies with the applicant and, in line with the legislations, the Council can take action to recover the funding.
  6. Top Up grants for the Local Restriction Support Grant (Closed) scheme or Local Restriction Support Grant (Closed Addendum) scheme, through the Local Restriction Support Grant (Open) or Additional Restriction Grant (Discretionary) scheme, will not be paid out to businesses except in exceptional circumstances where this is essential to support the wider local economy. Where businesses feel they fit this criteria, contact with the council will need to be made prior to an application being accepted.

* Fixed Costs – any costs relating to the operation of the business that cannot be cancelled during this period. These could include property costs such as rent for non-rateable commercial premises, utilities, etc. Fixed costs do not include employee costs.

** Significant Impact – A statement will be required from the company showing that at least 50% of their revenue comes from businesses required to close within the defined sectors in point 2 above, and / or that closures and restrictions have had an impact on their income of at least 30%.

***Trading – a business that even if not registered within the borough on Companies House, has a presence in the area and is clearly trading from an address within the borough.

**** Market Traders – Market Traders will be paid by the Local Authority where their home address or commercial premises address is. The location of the markets they attend will not be considered as part of this grant scheme apart from in exceptional circumstances.

Exclusions to the Additional Restrictions Grant (Discretionary) and Local Restriction Support Grant (Open)

  • Businesses that are able to continue to trade and can operate their services effectively remotely.
  • Businesses that have chosen to close but not been required to will not be eligible for this grant, unless they can demonstrate Significant Impact** through cancelled orders for products and services to closed businesses in the retail, hospitality, hotel, bed and breakfast, tourism, leisure or events sectors.
  • Businesses which have already received grant payments that equal the maximum levels of State aid permitted under the de minimis and the Covid-19 Temporary State Aid Framework.
  • 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.

Grant Levels

Business can receive up to a maximum of £1,500 for any given property***** over a 14-day period. In exceptional circumstances a higher level of grant under the Additional Restriction Grant and Local Restriction Support Grant (Open) schemes may be awarded at the discretion of the council and subject to the level of funds available at the time of applying. Significant additional amounts of evidence will need to be provided in order to be considered for a higher level of grant.

Grants will be awarded on a first come first served basis within the funding allocation limits of the schemes agreed by the Council.

Indicative amounts for priority groups – The ARG (Discretionary) and LRSG (Open) schemes will both pay grants at the same levels.  These have been set at different levels for the period while Ashford Borough is in either National Lockdown, Tier 3 and Tier 4– Very High alert / Stay at Home, or in Tier 2 – High Alert.

National Lockdown, Tier 3 and Tier 4 - Very High Alert/Stay at Home

During the period that Ashford Borough is in National Lockdown, Tier 3 and Tier 4, grants will be paid out at the these levels for both ARG (Discretionary) and LRSG (Open) (only in Tier 3) due the higher impact on the local economy:

  • Businesses occupying hereditaments appearing on the local rating list with a rateable value of exactly £15,000 or under on the date of the commencement of the local restrictions will receive a payment of £667 per 14-day qualifying restriction period.
  • Businesses occupying hereditaments appearing on the local rating list with a rateable value over £15,000 and less than £51,000 on the date of the commencement of the local restrictions will receive a payment of £1,000 per 14-day qualifying restriction period.
  • Businesses occupying hereditaments appearing on the local rating list with a rateable value of exactly £51,000 or above on the commencement date of the local restrictions, will receive £1,500 per 14-day qualifying restriction period.

Tier 2 - High Alert

During the period that Ashford Borough is in Tier 2 – High Alert, grants will be paid out at these levels for both ARG (Discretionary) and LRSG (Open):

  • Grants of up to £467 per 14-day period for businesses occupying hereditaments with a rateable value of exactly £15,000 or under on the date of the commencement of the local restrictions.
  • Grants of up to £700 per 14-day period for businesses occupying hereditaments with a rateable value over £15,000 and less than £51,000 on the date of the commencement of the local restrictions.
  • Grants of up to £1,050 per 14-day period for businesses occupying hereditaments with a rateable value of exactly £51,000 or above on the date of the commencement of the local restrictions.

Where a property does not have a rateable value or is part of a larger rateable value, rents paid, the size of the business and projected impact will be used to provide a professional judgement by officers on the level of grant that should be applied.  For Market Traders and B&B accommodation, these will be set up to a maximum of the lower level of either £467 per 14 day period (Tier 2), or £667 per 14-day qualifying restriction period (National Lockdown, Tier 3 and Tier 4).

Where the impact on businesses can be identified to be lower than either £467 or £667 per 14 day qualifying restriction period, officers will have discretion to administer grants at a lower level to reflect the level of fixed costs and financial impact on income.

***** Property – a business that has more than one property will be eligible to submit an application for each actively trading property.

ARG National Lockdown One-Off Grant

This is a one-off additional Top-Up Grant for businesses supported by the Ashford Additional Restriction Grant (Discretionary) scheme and is only available for qualifying businesses for the period of the National Lockdown from 5 January to 15 February 2021.  All businesses will need to have applied for the Ashford Borough Council Additional Restriction Grant scheme, and have had their application approved as eligible for the period of the January national lockdown. This grant will then be automatically applied to these successful grant payments.

The grants will be paid out at the following levels over and above the standard ARG payments that successful applicants will receive:

  • £4,000 for businesses with a rateable value of £15,000 or under, or paid an ARG grant of £667 per 14 day period.
  • £6,000 for businesses with a rateable value between £15,000 and £51,000 or paid an ARG grant of £1,000 per 14 day period.
  • £9,000 for businesses with a rateable value of over £51,000 or paid an ARG grant of £1,500 per 14 day period.
  • All business that have been paid an ARG grant of under £667 per 14 day period will receive a one off grant of £2,000.

Evidence

Closed businesses applying for ARG (Discretionary) funding will be required to make a statement that confirms their eligibility. The council places responsibility on the applicant to agree that their statement is correct to the best of their knowledge. In addition, businesses that are required to close will need to provide evidence of their trading status. This will be in the form of a bank statement (showing business/applicant’s name, registered address with income within the last 3 months).

Open businesses that are applying for ARG (Discretionary) or LRSG (Open) funding will be required to make a statement that confirms their eligibility. The council places responsibility on the applicant to agree that their statement is correct to the best of their knowledge. In addition, businesses that are not required to close will need to provide evidence to demonstrate they supply companies that are required to close and an impact on income. This will be in the form of a bank statement (showing the business name or applicant’s name, registered address with income within the last 3 months) and an invoice (showing the business name, client name and registered address dated within the last 3 months).

Appeals

An appeals process will be in place where a business disputes the decision made by the council. The appellant will need to email discretionary.grants@ashford.gov.uk requesting an appeal within 1 week of receiving a decision notification. Appeals will need to include a statement providing additional information and supporting evidence. The application and appeal documents will be considered by an appeals panel chaired by the Director of Finance and Economy.  The panel will make its recommendation and Director of Finance and Economy will act as the final arbiter and will make a final decision. The appellant will subsequently be notified of the outcome of their appeal.