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Q1. What is the purpose of this new scheme?

This scheme is aimed at:

  • businesses that were required to close (between 5 Nov and 2 Dec 2020) but which are not registered for business rates.
  • businesses that did not have to close but which were severely impacted by the national restrictions (between 5 Nov and 2 Dec 2020).

 

Q2. What guidance is available?

Whilst Government guidance sets out some mandatory eligibility criteria, it also provides scope to target the grants in accordance with local economic circumstances and priorities. Please refer to the ARG policy document for the full eligibility criteria in East Devon local authority area.

 

Q3. Who will be evaluating the applications?

The Economic Development team will be leading on application processing with support from the Business Rates team.

 

Q4. What are the mandatory criteria for this scheme?

You cannot get funding if:

  • your business is in administration, insolvent or has been struck off the Companies House register
  • you have exceeded the permitted state aid threshold
  • you are eligible for or have already received a Local Restrictions Support Grant 
  • you were not trading as normal on 4th November 2020 before the period of national restrictions began.
  • Section 3.16 of the ARG policy outlines the types of businesses that are excluded from the scheme to ensure limited grant funds are prioritised to those businesses most severely impacted by the national restrictions.

 

Q5. What are the eligibility criteria?

Eligible businesses should have been solvent and trading normally on the 4th November 2020 and:

  • were required to close from the 5th November to 2nd December and do not have a business rates account;
  • are within or supply the retail, hospitality and leisure sectors, as well as businesses in the events sector and taxi operators licensed by EDDC;
  • can evidence being severely impacted by the national restrictions through a 30% drop in turnover from 5th November to 2nd December (not through seasonal fluctuations, other reductions or losses);
  • can evidence minimum fixed business costs of £250 per month.

 

Q6. What is the definition of ‘severely impacted’?

‘Severely impacted’ is defined as a clear and obvious drop in business income and/or trade of at least 30% as a result of the national restrictions (between 5 Nov and 2 Dec) compared to the period prior to those restrictions. A business can evidence this by providing a bank statement for November 2020 or uploading a document proving that they supply or are supplied by a business which was forced to close. We welcome other types of evidence, although for the avoidance of doubt the applicant will need to explain how the document shows the business was severely impacted where this is not initially or obviously clear.

 

Q7. I have not been severely impacted by the national restrictions as such, but my business has been affected by COVID-19 pandemic generally. Can I still apply for an ARG?

No. Those claiming to be severely impacted must show a deterioration in income and/or trade compared to the period prior to those restrictions. Businesses need to evidence a 30% drop in turnover from 5th November to 2nd December due to the national restrictions imposed during this period.

 

Q8. I have already received a Local Restrictions Support Grant for the national lockdown period (between 5 Nov and 2 Dec), can I apply for an ARG too?

No. You cannot receive both an LRSG and an ARG. Those who have received an LRSG or an ARG may be eligible for future schemes to cover Tier 2 restrictions. Our website will be update with any new funding opportunities when they become available.

 

Q9. What types of businesses are being prioritised?

 The Council particularly encourage applications from businesses both within and which supply the retail, hospitality, leisure, and events sectors, as well as taxi operators licensed by EDDC.

 

Q10. Can other types of businesses apply?

Yes. All types of businesses can apply for as long as they meet the eligibility criteria.

 

Q11. Will non-commercial organisations be eligible for this fund?

No. Only organisations with a commercial operation (selling goods and services in a competitive market) that meet the eligibility criteria can apply. This can include charities with a clear commercial element.

 

Q12. How are applicants prioritised?

Grants will be issued on a first-come-first-serve basis until our allocation for this scheme has been exhausted.

 

Q13. Can a business apply for more than one grant?

No. A business is only eligible for one ARG.

 

Q14. Can a business with two or more premises in East Devon apply for two or more grants?

No. A business is only eligible for one ARG, regardless of the number of premises.

 

Q15. Can an owner/director of more than one business apply for multiple Additional Restrictions Grants?

As long as the owner/director's businesses meet both the mandatory Government (solvent and trading normally on 4th Nov) and local criteria (minimum 30% drop in turnover and fixed business costs in excess of £250 pcm), they can apply for an ARG for each business as long as:

  1. Where the businesses share the same premises, none are eligible for, or have received a Local Restrictions Support Grant (Closed) for the period of the national restrictions (5th Nov to 2nd Dec 2020); and
  2. If their businesses are based/registered at the same premises, the applicant does not use the same fixed business cost evidence to meet the minimum cost criteria for different applications (e.g. the same utility bills, lease or equipment hire agreement etc.).

 

Q16. Does the applicant need to pay business rates to be eligible?

No. Once of the main purposes of this scheme is to include those businesses who do not have their own business rates assessment and therefore were not eligible for the LRSG scheme. Businesses forced to close who do have a business rates assessment should check to see if they are eligible for the LRSG scheme before applying for this scheme. Businesses who have been severely impacted are eligible regardless as to whether they are rated or not.

 

Q17. Is there scope to provide grants to businesses without premises costs?

Yes. All types of businesses can apply for as long as they meet the eligibility criteria.

 

Q18. Can the self-employed/sole traders apply?

Yes. All types of businesses can apply for as long as they meet the eligibility criteria.

 

Q19. Can those who work from home or work on a mobile basis apply?

Yes. All types of businesses can apply for as long as they meet the eligibility criteria.

 

Q20. Is there a rateable value limit for businesses receiving this fund?

No. All types of businesses can apply for as long as they meet the mandatory and local criteria.

 

Q21. Is there still an absolute limit of employees for businesses receiving this fund?

No. All types of businesses can apply for as long as they meet the eligibility criteria.

 

Q22. Can businesses that started trading after 5 November 2020 apply?

No. The mandatory criteria set out in the Government’s guidance prevents local authorities from awarding grants to anyone who started trading after 5 November 2020.

 

Q23. How can businesses apply?

Businesses will be able to apply online via the EDDC website. We ask businesses to carefully read all the information on the website before applying.

 

Q24. Can the Council provide an application form in paper format?

No. The application form can only be filled in online.

 

Q25. What supporting documents will applicants need to provide?

Applicants will need to upload various documents for us to verify eligibility. A list has been uploaded onto our webpage outlining everything an applicant will need to supply. Failure to provide correct and honest information could result in any grant awarded being rescinded.

 

Q26. Why are applicants being asked to provide so many reference/account numbers?

We encourage businesses to provide as many details as they can, as this will help us to quickly resolve any anti-fraud checks at a later stage. Applicants will need to provide at least one of these reference/account numbers.

 

Q27. What happens if an applicant forgot to upload adequate information and wants to send additional documents post-application?

Applicants can email us at arg@eastdevon.gov.uk to provide additional information. They must include their case reference number in the title of the email. Failure to provide correct and honest information could result in any grant awarded being rescinded.

 

Q28. My business cannot provide a business utility bill, insurance policy or tenancy/lease agreement. What should I do?

You are welcome to supply an invoice, receipt, proof of sale or other document relating to an alternative business cost. This could include, for example, a lease for a company vehicle or piece of kit used for commercial purposes, or a bill for IT services. You cannot include personal or non-commercial residential costs. If your business has no fixed business costs, you are not eligible for an ARG.

 

Q29. Businesses based in a residential dwelling may interpret ‘fixed business costs’ to include their house mortgages etc. Could support be given to these businesses?

Although these types of businesses can apply (assuming they meet the eligibility criteria), the application form only allows applicants to input business related costs. Examples of eligible costs include equipment hire, fixed marketing costs, utility bills, insurance costs or leases/mortgages for non-commercial residential properties. B&Bs and guesthouses can include these costs, as the property is used primarily for a commercial purpose. 

 

Q30. What are the grant bands?

Grants will be awarded at the fixed levels as displayed in the table below:

Where the business has been required by Government close and is not subject to Non-Domestic rating; or where the business suffers a significant financial impact and is not subject to Non-Domestic rating; £934
Where the business suffers a significant financial impact and is subject to Non-Domestic rating; RV £0 -£15k £934
East Devon District Council/Additional Restrictions Grants Scheme (ARG) 07122020 6
Where the business suffers a significant financial impact and is subject to Non-Domestic rating; RV £15 -£51k
£1,400
Where the business suffers a significant financial impact and is subject to Non-Domestic rating; RV £51k+ £2,100



Q31. When will grants be issued?

Assessment of the grant applications will take some time, depending on the number received and the required information being provided. Once assessed, grants will be dispersed within three working days of the grant application being approved.

 

Q32. How will an applicant know if they have been successful?

The applicant will be notified by email as to whether they have been successful and when they can expect to receive payment.

 

Q33. Will grants be issued on a first come first serve basis?

Yes. We may open up the ARG to receive further applications early in 2021 should uptake be lower than the funds currently allocated.  

 

Q34. Will grant payments to a particular applicant be paid out all in one go or in smaller portions over time?

A grant to an applicant will be paid out all in one go.

 

Q35. Will grants be issued on a rolling basis?

Grants will be issued per 28 day period of national restrictions. As the first 28 day period of national restrictions was not extended on 2 December, businesses may be eligible for Tier 2 grants instead. If national restrictions are re-imposed at a later date, additional ARGs may be issued. No automatic right of approval for any subsequent grant can be implied or should be assumed, and businesses may need to provide additional information to be eligible for an additional grant should national restrictions be re-imposed.

 

Q36. Do applicants need to pay back the grant?

No, only in cases where a grant was paid in error can the local authority reclaim the funds.

 
Q37. When will the scheme close?

The scheme will remain open until 5pm on 23rd December 2020. However, we may extend the scheme or close the scheme earlier depending on demand and remaining funds.

 

Q38. How will any remaining funds be allocated?

Remaining funds will be used to pay for post-national restrictions projects and wider business support in accordance with the BEIS guidance issued to Local Authorities.