COVID-19 Additional Relief Fund
The COVID-19 Additional Relief fund (CARF) has been made available to support those businesses affected by the pandemic but that are ineligible for existing support linked to business rates. The Government released guidance for the administration of this fund to councils on 15 December 2021.
South Somerset District Council have designed a discretionary CARF policy to follow the mandatory criteria and principles set out in the Government guidance to support ratepayers who have been adversely affected by the pandemic and have been unable to adequately adapt to that impact.
The Government guidance directs that CARF is available to reduce chargeable amounts in the 2021/2022 year only and must be directed towards ratepayers who have been adversely affected by the pandemic and have been unable to adequately adapt to that impact. Under the criteria set by Government it is not available to the following:
- Businesses eligible to receive the Expanded Retail Discount, Nursery Discount or Airport Operations Support Scheme for the 2021/2022 year
- Unoccupied businesses (other than those closed temporarily due to mandated Covid-19 restrictions) in the 2021/2022 year
South Somerset District Council have written to all eligible ratepayers
The South Somerset District Council Covid 19 Additional Relief Fund Policy sets out our approach to awarding relief.
Within the South Somerset District Council CARF Discretionary Policy we have decided the level of CARF that will be applied to individual hereditaments. The set award will be between 40-60% relief for the year 2021/2022, capped at £20,000. This is a one off award, future changes in rateable value for the period may affect the amount of relief provided. And this will be evaluated on a case by case basis.
South Somerset District Council have written to all eligible ratepayers for the Council’s main scheme.
The Council is also welcoming applications from all ratepayers through the Special Cases scheme. More information, including how to apply, is available on the tab below.
A decision notice for the year 2021/2022 will be sent to all ratepayers who receive relief.
Special cases application
South Somerset District Council has agreed to launch a ‘special cases’ application for ratepayers who do not qualify under the main scheme. This is open to any rate payer who meet the below requirements. To make a formal application businesses must email firstname.lastname@example.org by 5pm on Thursday 24 August 2022 at 5pm and provide:
- Business rates number
- Description of business activity and how it has been adversely affected by Covid 19 for the required time period
All businesses must also meet the below eligibility criteria:
- The ratepayer is not eligible (or would be eligible) for the Expanded Retail Discount (covering Retail, Hospitality and Leisure), the Nursery Discount or the Airport and Ground Operations Support Scheme (AGOSS);
- The ratepayer is not entitled to either Small Business Rate Relief or Rural Rate Relief granted at 100%;
- The ratepayer is not subject to Subsidy Controls (see final tab)
- The ratepayer is not entitled to mandatory relief (80%) and discretionary top up of 20% which is funded through business rates retention;
- The ratepayer must be in current occupation of the hereditament (including trading from the premises) for the period rate relief is sought within the 2021/22 financial year
UK Subsidy Controls
The Council’s COVID-19 Additional Relief Fund (CARF) scheme is subject to the subsidies chapter within the UK-EU Trade and Cooperation Agreement (TCA). However, for CARF there is an exemption for subsidies under the value of approximately £2,243,000 per economic actor (broadly speaking, for example, a holding company and its subsidiaries).
This allowance comprises 325,000 Special Drawing Rights (at current exchange rates about £343,000) for Small Amounts of Financial Assistance and a further £1,900,000 for COVID-19 related subsidy.
Therefore, to be awarded CARF the ratepayer must not have claimed over the period 2019/20 to 2021/22 more than £2,243,000 from schemes which fell within the Small Amounts of Financial Assistance or COVID-19 related allowances.
Any COVID-19 business grants a ratepayer has received from local government generally and the 2019/20 Retail Relief should count towards this limit, but the ratepayer should not count any Extended Retail Discount they have received since 1 April 2020.
Further details of subsidy control can be found at: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/covid-19-additional-relief-fund-carf-local-authority-guidance
The ratepayer will need to indicate to the Council:
If they have not to date received any subsidy which fell within the Small Amounts of Financial Assistance or COVID-19 related allowances; or if the ratepayer has received other such subsidies, they will be required to provide the name and total value of those subsidies.
A ratepayer must not accept funding from the CARF if they have already exceeded the £2,243,000 allowance. However, the Council will still consider applications for support under the CARF scheme if they have reached this limit provided you can evidence that they:
Intend to use the support to fund uncovered fixed costs (costs not covered by profits for insurance etc) during the period of COVID-19. Economic actors may claim for up to 70% of their uncovered costs (although this 70% limit does not apply to small businesses with less than 50 employees and less than £9 million turnover where the limit is instead 90%); and have shown a decline in turnover of at least 30% within the April 2020 to March 2021 period, compared to the same 2019 to 2020 period.
The ratepayer may claim up to a further £10 million of additional allowance (on top of the £2,243,000) if they meet the above tests and they have not claimed any other support from the additional allowance up to an aggregate £10 million limit (such as from the COVID-19 business grants).
Government and the Council will not tolerate any business falsifying their records or providing false evidence to gain this relief including claiming support above these thresholds.
A ratepayer who falsely applies for any relief or provides false information or makes false representation in order to gain relief may be guilty of fraud under the Fraud Act 2006.
In accepting the award of relief (or applying through the Special Cases application) and not subsequently contacting South Somerset District Council Revenues Team to opt out or declare themselves ineligible, the ratepayer confirms that they comply with subsidy legislation.