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Covid-19 business support grants

Additional Restrictions Grant (discretionary scheme) 

The Additional Restrictions Grant (ARG) provides funding to support closed businesses that do not directly pay business rates as well as businesses that do not have to close but have been impacted.

Market traders, businesses with building related costs, childcare and Ofsted-registered nurseries, charities with business rates liabilities and VCS organisations can now apply.

The scheme will be open for a fixed period of three weeks starting on 25 January 2021 at 12noon and ending on 15 February 2021 at 12noon

All payments will be made within two weeks of the scheme closure date.

Start application for Additional Restrictions Grant

Local Restrictions Support Grants (LRSG) 

The government has announced a range of grants to support businesses affected by the current coronavirus restrictions.

There is a range of Local Restrictions Support Grants (LRSG) to support businesses that have remained open and those that have been required to close during local and national lockdowns, because of the coronavirus pandemic.

We are currently awarding grants for all schemes under LRSG. Please be patient as we have a large volume of grants to process. If we have already paid you a grant under the "National Restrictions Support Grant" (Second national lockdown) for the period 5 November to 2 December you do not have to re-apply.

We will automatically assess and pay any further grants you are eligible for under tier 2, 3 and 4 restrictions.

Only complete this application form if you have a Business Rates account reference. There will be a single application to cover all the Local Restrictions Support Grants (LRSG) the government has put in place.

Start application for LRSG

 

 

Update (January 2021)

Following the introduction of a national lockdown, the government has announced more support grants for businesses affected by the restrictions.

We'll update this page with details as soon as we receive confirmation of the funding and eligibility criteria.

Details of the Additional Restrictions Grant application process can be found below with applications due to open on Monday 25 January 2021.

Update (December 2020)

  • Following the government's introduction of Tier 4 restrictions in London from 20 December, we are waiting government guidance on how support schemes for Tier 4 areas will operate.

  • Christmas support payments for wet-led pubs are available for pubs that predominantly serve alcohol rather than food.


Applications are now live for a one-off payment of £1,000 per wet-led pub where Tier 2 or Tier 3 restrictions were in place between 2 and 29 December 2020.

The five schemes are explained as follows:

  1. Local Restrictions Support Grant (closed) Addendum

  2. Sector Specific Grant: nightclubs and other specific venues

  3. Local Restrictions Support Grant (Open): for businesses affected by the Tier 2/3 restrictions

  4. Local Restrictions Support Grant (Closed): for businesses told to close during Tier 2/3 restrictions
  5. Additional Restrictions Grant (ARG): discretionary scheme

Businesses required to close from 5 November to 2 December (Local Restrictions Support Grant - Closed) Addendum

These grants are only available to businesses who pay business rates and meet the very specific qualifying criteria.

This grant provides support for businesses required to close due to national lockdown restrictions from 5 November 2020 until 2 December 2020.

This includes for example:

  • all non-essential retail

  • hospitality venues

  • accommodation

  • leisure and sports facilities

  • entertainment venues

  • personal care facilities

  • community centres

  • nightclubs

  • dance halls

  • discos

  • sexual entertainment venues

  • hostess bars

This will be paid at the following rates depending on the rateable value of the business premises concerned for the period of 5 November 2020 to 2 December 2020.

 Rateable value

Rateable value of premisesNational Lockdown Grant Payment

£15,000 or under

£1,334 per 28-day qualifying restriction period

Over £15,000 and less then £51,000

£2,000 per 28-day qualifying restriction period 

Exactly £51,000 or above

£3,000 per 28-day qualifying restriction period

Businesses that may qualify

The following businesses may be eligible for a National Lockdown Grant as they have been required to close by the government from 5 November 2020:

  • non-essential retail

  • hospitality venues

  • accommodation

  • leisure and sports facilities

  • entertainment venues

  • personal care facilities

  • community centres and places of worship.

Full details of businesses that are required to close, and those that can remain open during the National Lockdown from 5 November until 2 December 2020 are available from the government's website.

Businesses that do not qualify

The following businesses were not required to close by government during the national lockdown from 5 November until 2 December 2020 and are not eligible for a grant payment:

  • Food shops, supermarkets, garden centres, hardware stores, building merchants and off-licences

  • Petrol stations, car repair and MOT services, bicycle shops, taxi and vehicle hire businesses, car parks and motorway service stations

  • Banks, building societies, post offices, loan providers and money transfer businesses

  • Medical services such as dentists, opticians and pharmacies

  • Vets, pet shops and agricultural supplies shops

  • Storage facilities, funeral directors, launderettes and dry cleaners  

  • Public toilets  

  • Outdoor playgrounds.

Businesses that may have chosen to close their premises but were not required to will not be eligible for this grant.  

Qualifying criteria

The main qualifying criteria are set out as follows:

  1. Your business must have been registered for business rates liability with London Borough of Tower Hamlets on the first full day of the national lockdown period to which the restrictions apply

  2. Your business provides services “in person” to customers at its premises

  3. Your business is not able to continue trading, as it depends on providing “in-person” services from premises and cannot effectively operate its services remotely

  4. Your business was open for trading immediately prior to the national lockdown arrangements (i.e. immediately before 5 November 2020)

  5. Your business was required to close under the national lockdown arrangements

  6. The award of the grant together with other funds received will not exceed State Aid limits of €800,000

  7. Your business is not in administration, insolvent or subject to a striking off notice.

Businesses with multiple properties (each with a business rates liability) will be eligible to apply for a grant for each property. Separate applications will be required for each business property.

Where possible, we will contact business ratepayers from the last round of grant payments to let them know when they can apply.

All businesses will be required to apply using the online application form to ensure compliance with the central government governance requirements. 

Note you will be required to supply the following:

  • NNDR account number

  • Company or charity registration number

  • National Insurance number (If you are a sole trader)

  • VAT registration number (if applicable)

  • Bank statements - Copies of most recent bank statements must show the name which match your business rates account name and will be the account to which the grant will be paid. These will need to be uploaded as part of this process so please ensure you have digital versions available to upload.

Grant for nightclubs and sexual entertainment venues (Local Restrictions Support Grant - Sector)

This grant applies to nightclubs, dance halls, discos, sexual entertainment venues and hostess bars which have been required to close since 23 March 2020.

Grant payments will be initially awarded for the period 1 November 2020 to 4 November 2020 at the following four day period rate.

Once businesses have been awarded the grant, from 2 December 2020 if these businesses are still mandated to be closed, they will receive the payments below every 14 day period.

Rateable value - sector specific grant payment and pro rata amounts 

Rateable value of premises Sector Specific Grant Payment for 14 day periodPro rata amounts for 1 November – 4 November 2020 (4-days)

£15,000 or under

£667 per 14-day

£191 for the 4-day period

Over £15,000 or less than £51,000

£1,000 per 14-day

£286 for the 4-day period

£51,000 or above

£1,500 per 14-day

£429 for the 4-day period

 

All businesses need to apply using the online application form to ensure compliance with the central government governance requirements.

Note you will be required to supply the following:

  • NNDR account number

  • Company or charity registration number

  • National Insurance number (if you are a sole trader)

  • VAT registration number (if applicable)

  • Bank statements - Copies of most recent bank statements must show the name which match your business rates account name and will be the account to which the grant will be paid. These will need to be uploaded as part of this process so please ensure you have digital versions available to upload.

Hospitality, hotel, bed and breakfast and leisure businesses while in Tier 2 and 3 (Local Restrictions Support Grant - Open)

The open discretionary grant is for businesses subject to restrictions due to Tower Hamlets being under Tier 2 restrictions from 17 October until 4 November 2020 and Tier2 and 3 restrictions from 2 December to 19 December 2020.

This includes those businesses currently registered for business rates and in the hospitality, hotel, bed and breakfast and leisure industry only. Hairdressers, beauty salons and travel agents are not eligible.

This will be paid at the following rates dependent upon the rateable value of the business premises concerned for the period 17 October to 4 November 2020 and 2 December to 19 December 2020.

 Rateable value - open grant payment for tier 2 and 3

Rateable value of premisesOpen grant payment (Tier 2/3)

£15,000 or under

£934 per 28-day qualifying restriction period

Over £15,000 and less than £51,000 

£1,400 per 28-day qualifying restriction period

Exactly £51,000 or above

£2,100 per 28-day qualifying restriction period

Businesses that may qualify

Businesses may be eligible for a Local Restrictions Support Grant (Open) where they are not legally required to close but are severely impacted by restrictions in place.

This is as a result of a local authority being in Tier 2 and Tier 3, arising from the coronavirus pandemic.

Businesses in the hospitality, hotel, bed and breakfast or leisure sectors that occupy a commercial property in Tower Hamlets and are actively trading and and have a business rates liability with London Borough of Tower Hamlets may be eligible to apply.

Businesses that do not qualify

  1. Businesses that were not subject to restrictions or are not within the business sectors indicated above, are not eligible under the scheme.   

  2. Businesses established after 17 October 2020 restrictions had commenced.   

  3. Businesses in areas outside the scope of the localised restrictions, as defined by Government.  

  4. Businesses subject to national closures (e.g. nightclubs) that will instead be potentially eligible under the Local Restrictions Support Grant (Sector).

  5. Businesses which have already received payments that equal the maximum levels of State Aid permitted under the de minimis and the Covid-19 Temporary State Aid Framework.

  6. Businesses that do not have a business rates liability with London Borough of Tower Hamlets.  

  7. Businesses that were in administration, are insolvent or where a striking-off notice has been made at the date of the local lockdown

  8. Hairdressers, Beauty salons and travel agents

Local Restrictions Support Grant (Closed) – Tier 2 and 3

This is a grant for businesses that pay business rates and have been told by government that they must close under Tier 2 or Tier 3 restrictions.

This will be paid at the following rates dependant upon the date which the business was mandated by central government to close and the rateable value of the business premises concerned for the period 2 December to 19 December 2020.

Rateable value grant payment tier 2 and 3

Rateable value of premises

Closed grant payment (Tier 2/3)

£15,000 or under

£667 per 14-day qualifying restriction period

Over £15,000 and less than £51,000 

£1,000 per 14-day qualifying restriction period

Exactly £51,000 or above

£1,500 per 14-day qualifying restriction period

Application

Businesses with multiple properties (each with a Business Rates liability) will be eligible to apply for a grant for each property. Separate applications will be required for each business property.

Where possible, we will contact business ratepayers from the last round of grant payments to let them know when they can apply.

Note you will be required to supply the following:

  • NNDR account number

  • Company or charity registration number

  • National Insurance number (If you are a sole trader)

  • VAT registration number (if applicable)

  • Bank statements - Copies of most recent bank statements must show the name which match your business rates account name and will be the account to which the grant will be paid. These need to be uploaded as part of this process so please ensure you have digital versions available to upload. 

Additional Restrictions Grant (discretionary scheme)

The government has 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 2020/2021 and 2021/2022.

The scheme is called the Additional Restrictions Grant (ARG) and is administered by business rate billing authorities in England.

Under the Additional Restrictions Grant, local authorities will receive a one-off lump sum payment amounting to £20 per head in each eligible local authority when LCAL 3 or widespread national restrictions are imposed. Local authorities can use this funding for business support activities.  

Local authorities can use ARG for direct business support grants and the same conditions of grant apply as for the Local Restrictions Support Grant (Closed), however local authorities will have the discretion to alter the amount of funding offered to individual businesses and the frequency of payment.

Local councils can determine which businesses to target and determine the amount of funding from the ARG.

Funding can cover one or more of the following areas:

  • direct grants to business
  • business support e.g. advice and guidance for businesses, and skills training to support their ability to trade in changed circumstances.

A total of £6.4m of ARG funding has so far been allocated to the council to cover the period up until March 2022, with further funds to be confirmed shortly.

This scheme is open for applications from 25 January 2021 at 12noon to 15 February 2021 at 12 noon.

All payments will be made within 2 weeks of the scheme closing.

Purpose of the scheme

The principle of the scheme is to reach those businesses which, while not legally forced to close, are nonetheless severely impacted by the restrictions put in place to control the spread of COVID-19.  

This could include for example, businesses which supply the retail, hospitality, and leisure sectors, or businesses in the events sector, or those businesses that have not qualified under the other Local Restriction Grant schemes and can demonstrate a loss of earnings.

The scheme can also help businesses outside the business rates system, which are effectively forced to close, for example market traders or those business paying an inclusive rent to ratepayers.

Local Authorities can also use ARG funding to provide additional support to larger local businesses which are important to the local economy, on top of the funding provided to those businesses via the LRSG (Closed) scheme, with due reference to State Aid.

Government guidance states that when deciding the level of grant the following may be considered:

  • the level of fixed costs faced by the business in question
  • the number of employees
  • whether the business is unable to trade online
  • the consequent scale of coronavirus losses.

Eligibility

The principle of the scheme is to reach those businesses which, while not legally forced to close, are nonetheless severely impacted by the restrictions put in place to control the spread of COVID-19.  

This could include for example, businesses which supply the retail, hospitality, and leisure sectors, or businesses in the events sector, or those businesses that have not qualified under the other Local Restriction Grant schemes and can demonstrate a loss of earnings.

The scheme can also help businesses outside the business rates system, which are effectively forced to close, for example market traders or those business paying an inclusive rent to ratepayers.

Local Authorities can also use ARG funding to provide additional support to larger local businesses which are important to the local economy, on top of the funding provided to those businesses via the LRSG (Closed) scheme, with due reference to State Aid.

Government guidance states that when deciding the level of grant the following may be considered:

  • the level of fixed costs faced by the business in question
  • the number of employees
  • whether the business is unable to trade online.

The consequent scale of coronavirus losses. 

Categories of businesses

  • Regular Market Traders with fixed costs such as rent, trading for a period of eight weeks up to 5 November, who do not have their own business rates assessment
  • Local businesses in shared offices or other flexible workspace (excluding spaces within residential properties)
  • Local businesses whose income and turnover is directly affected by the restrictions put in place and will not qualify under the other Local Restrictions Support Grants
  • Childcare Ofsted registered nurseries
  • Charities occupying properties that receive charitable business rates relief but do not qualify under the Local Restrictions Grant schemes
  • Members of Tower Hamlets Local Voluntary and Community Sector (VCS) organisations who have not qualified under other LRSG schemes and who have ongoing building related costs - including faith groups, informal community groups, mutual aid groups, social enterprises, tenants and residents’ associations, co-operatives, community interest companies where income has been affected by the restrictions put in place

Level of payments

  • Market traders: full time £2,000, part time £1,000
  • Local businesses: building related costs of £25,000 or more can apply for £20,000, below £25,000 can apply for £10,000
  • Childcare and Ofsted-registered nurseries: £5,000
  • Charities with Business Rates Liabilities: £5,000
  • VCS organisations: up to £5,000 (limited to 50 per cent of annual income)

Policy review

To ensure the Additional Restrictions Grant reaches those businesses most in need, this policy will be reviewed by the Chief Finance Officer three weeks after launch, following which the council reserves the right to modify eligibility criteria and funding thresholds, to ensure fairness and that awards do not exceed the total funding available.

The application process

The application will be online only and published on the council’s website.

The first round of applications will be open for 21 days.

Any applications received outside this period will not be considered. Should there be any funds remaining after the first round of applications have been reviewed and awarded, a second round will be considered.

Evidence will be required alongside all applications. Eligibility checks will also be carried out prior to any award including verification using external data sources.

If the required evidence is not supplied as requested the application will not be considered and there will be no further requests for information to the applicant.

No grants will be awarded without an application being made. Grants will only be paid when all eligibility criteria have been suitably evidenced.

Total grant payments will currently be capped at £6,494,900 which is the current funding guaranteed by central government. The council cannot commit to funding eligible businesses once all available government funding has been allocated.

All payments will be made via BACS only.

The scheme will be open for a fixed period of three weeks starting on 25 January 2021 at 12noon and ending on 15 February 2021 at 12noon.

At this time all information supplied will be assessed and awards will be based on the level of payments listed above.

All payments will be made within two weeks of the scheme closure date of 15 February 2021.

Evidence to support applications

Evidence will be captured alongside the application and eligibility checks will be made prior to any to any award. 

Market traders

Those who had previously qualified under the earlier discretionary scheme and have continued to trade for the eight weeks prior to the 5 November 2020, will be paid automatically under the new scheme and at the new amounts listed.

All other market traders will have to provide copies of bank statements matching their licence or trading name as part of the application process.

Local businesses

  1. Copies of lease/rental agreements (for all commercial tenants)
  2. Copies of bank statements going back to September 2020 showing ongoing payments to landlords
  3. Evidence to support a significant fall in income of a least 25 per cent income due to Covid-19 with copies of bank statements showing comparisons for the previous year
  4. The business must be registered in and have a principle trading address within the London Borough of Tower Hamlets area. A copy of a document from HMRC showing these details must be submitted

Childcare and Ofsted registered nurseries

  1. Copies of lease/rental agreements
  2. Copies of bank statements going back to September 2020 showing ongoing payments to landlords
  3. Evidence to support a significant fall in income of a least 25 per cent income due to Covid-19 with copies of bank statements showing comparisons for the previous year
  4. The business must be registered in and have a principle trading address within the London Borough of Tower Hamlets area. A copy of a document from HMRC showing these details must be submitted

Charities liable for Business Rates 

  1. Copies of lease/rental agreements (for all commercial tenants)
  2. Copies of bank statements going back to September 2020 showing ongoing payments to landlords
  3. Evidence to support a significant fall in income of a least 25 per cent income due to Covid-19 with copies of bank statements showing comparisons for the previous year

VCS organisations

  1. Copies of lease/rental agreements
  2. Copies of bank statements going back to September 2020
  3. Evidence to support a significant fall in income of a least 25 per cent income due to Covid-19 with copies of bank statements showing comparisons for the previous year

Appeals

There is no statutory right of appeal against a decision regarding discretionary grants made by the council. 

Combatting fraud

In order to ensure that Discretionary Small Business Support Grant is not subject to potential abuse, all submitted applications will require a statutory declaration of truth, a statement regarding data processing and a recovery of funds statement.

This declaration allows for the council, through the Corporate Anti-Fraud Team, to carry out pre-payment checks in order to give greater assurance that the funds are being claimed correctly.

Furthermore, the declaration carries warnings which further allow the council to consider taking criminal action against persons who have been found to have deliberately made false applications for the funding.

It also allows for the recovery of funds which have been paid which should not have been.

The application form will include a statement that checks will be made against other council databases and to independent sources.

Data required will include for example company registration, websites and VAT numbers to help with pre-validation checks.