Covid 19 Business Grants Eligibility Criteria

Covid 19 Business Grants Eligibility Criteria

This page will provide you with details of the eligibility criteria and grant value for a range of Covid 19 business grants to support businesses through the Covid-19 restrictions.

It only includes information on grants that remain open for applications. For information on closed schemes, contact businesssupport@newcastle.gov.uk.

On this page:

Omicron Hospitality & Leisure Grant

On the 21st Dec, Government announced details of the new Omicron Hospitality & Leisure Grant (OHLG), available to businesses in the hospitality, leisure and accommodation sectors impacted by the Omicron wave. For full details on the eligibility criteria, visit the Government’s webpage Omicron Hospitality and Leisure Grant: guidance for Local Authorities (publishing.service.gov.uk)

The details set out below provide a summary of the main eligibility criteria that potential applicants should consider. We also set out where we will use local discretionary funding (Additional Restrictions Grant, or ARG) to extend the eligibility criteria to a broader range of businesses.

  • The Omicron Hospitality and Leisure Grant scheme is for those businesses on the Valuation Office Agency (VOA) ratings list as of the 30th Dec 2021 where the predominant activity taking place within their premises falls under the categories of Hospitality, Leisure or Accommodation. Our ARG top-up will also support those same businesses if their commercial premises are not on the VOA ratings list, but they are able to provide a signed lease or licence.
  • Businesses occupying hereditaments appearing on the local rating list with a rateable value of exactly £15,000 or under on 30 December 2021 will receive a payment of £2,667.
  • Businesses occupying hereditaments appearing on the local rating list with a rateable value over £15,000 and less than £51,000 on 30 December 2021 will receive a payment of £4,000.
  • Businesses occupying hereditaments appearing on the local rating list with a rateable value of exactly £51,000 or over on 30 December 2021 will receive a payment of £6,000.
  • Businesses occupying commercial premises not found on the rating list will receive a payment of £2,667 (funded through ARG rather than OHLG subject to availability)
  • In all cases, the business must be able to demonstrate they were actively trading on the 30th Dec 2021.
  • The OHLG will only be paid to the business registered as the liable party for their hereditament.
  • The primary principle of the Omicron Hospitality and Leisure Grant scheme and the ARG top-up is to support businesses that offer in-person services, where the main service and activity takes place in a fixed rate-paying premises (or in the case of ARG, the premises the applicant occupies for their main business and holds a signed lease or licence for), in the hospitality, leisure and accommodation sectors.
  • Applications must be approved before 1st March 2022 to secure OHLG. Any application approved after this point will only be supported if there is sufficient ARG funding remaining, and the ARG deadline (31st March 2022) has not passed.

For the purposes of this scheme:

A hospitality business can be defined as a business whose main function is to provide a venue for the consumption and sale of food and drink. This includes:

  • Businesses offering in-person food and drink services to the general public.
  • Businesses that provide food and/or drink to be consumed on the premises, including outdoors.

For these purposes, the definition of a hospitality business should exclude: food kiosks and businesses whose main service (generating 50% or more of income) is a takeaway (not applicable to those that have adapted to offer takeaways during periods of restrictions, in alignment with previous COVID-19 business grant schemes).

A leisure business can be defined as a business that provides opportunities, experiences and facilities, in particular for culture, recreation, entertainment, celebratory events and days and nights out. This includes:

  • Businesses that may provide in-person intangible experiences in addition to goods.
  • Businesses that may rely on seasonal labour.
  • Businesses that may assume particular public safety responsibilities.
  • Businesses that may operate with irregular hours through day, night and weekends.

For these purposes, the definition of a leisure business should exclude: all retail businesses, coach tour operators, and tour operators.

An accommodation business can be defined as a business whose main lodging provision is used for holiday, travel or other purposes. This includes:

  • Businesses that provide accommodation for ‘away from home’ stays for work or leisure purposes.
  • Businesses that provide accommodation for short-term leisure and holiday purposes.

For these purposes, the definition of an accommodation business should exclude: private dwellings, education accommodation, residential homes, care homes, residential family centres and beach huts.

If a business operates services that could be considered hospitality or leisure, and also fall into another category, the main service will be determined by assessing which category constitutes 50% or more of their overall income. The main service principle will determine whether a business receives funding. Businesses will need to declare which is their main service and may be asked to provide further evidence to support this.

This table sets out types of businesses that are eligible under the sector thresholds for this scheme. This list is not exhaustive, but indicative of the types of businesses that can be supported under this scheme.

Support Type

Types of business

Hospitality

Food courts

Public houses/pub restaurants

Restaurants

Roadside restaurants

Wine bars

Cafés

Leisure

Casinos and gambling clubs Cinemas Museums and art galleries Stately homes & historic houses Theatres Zoos & safari parks Amusement parks

Wedding venues

Events venues

Night clubs & discotheques

Arenas

Concert halls

Tourist attractions

Theme parks

Amusement arcades

Soft play centres or areas

Indoor riding centres

Clubs & institutions

Village halls & scout huts, cadet huts, etc.

Accommodation

Caravan parks

Caravan sites and pitches

Chalet parks

Coaching inns

Country house hotels

Guest houses

Hostels

Hotels

Lodge

Holiday apartments, Cottages or bungalows

Campsites

Boarding houses

Canal boats or other vessels

B&Bs

Catered holiday homes

Holiday homes

Businesses that have already received grant payments that equal the maximum permitted subsidy allowances will not be eligible to receive funding.

This scheme is covered by 3 possible subsidy allowances:

  • Small Amounts of Financial Assistance Allowance – you’re allowed up to £335,000 (subject to exchange rates) in Small Amounts of Financial Assistance over any rolling period of 3 financial years
  • COVID-19 Business Grant Allowance – under this allowance you’re allowed up to £1,900,000 across all COVID-19 Business Grant schemes
  • COVID-19 Business Grant Special Allowance - if you have reached your limits under the Small Amounts of Financial Assistance Allowance and COVID-19 Business Grant Allowance, you may be able to access a further allowance of funding under these scheme rules of up to £10,000,000 across all COVID-19 Business Grant schemes

Grants under these 3 allowances can be combined for a potential total allowance of up to £12,235,000 (subject to exchange rates)

  • Businesses that are in administration, insolvent or where a striking-off notice has been made, are not eligible for funding under this scheme.
  • Pre-payment and post-payment financial checks will take place to ensure the grant award is correct.
  • Applications for the OHLG must be submitted before the end of Feb 2022. All applications submitted after this point would be funded through ARG, subject to the availability of funding. The final deadline for all payments is the end of Mar 2022.
  • Due to a limited availability of ARG funding, applications will be verified and approved in the order in which they are submitted and all outstanding queries have been resolved. Failure to supply all necessary evidence in a timely fashion where requested may result in the approval of your application being delayed. As a result your application may be rejected as our limited funding may have been fully allocated, or we may have reached the funding deadline by which we can make any further payments.
  • The Council cannot make any guarantees regarding the availability of ARG funding, and we retain the right to close or alter the ARG funded element of the scheme at any point without warning or justification.
  • Our decision is final and there is no appeals process

 

Grant amount

Funding source

Hospitality, Leisure or Accommodation business with RV of £15,000 or less (approved before 1st March 2022)

£2,667

OHLG

Hospitality, Leisure or Accommodation business with RV of £15,000 or less (approved after 1st March 2022)

£2,667

ARG subject to availability

Hospitality, Leisure or Accommodation business with RV of £15,001 to £50,999 (approved before 1st March 2022)

£4,000

OHLG

Hospitality, Leisure or Accommodation business with RV of £15,001 to £50,999 (approved after 1st March 2022)

£4,000

ARG subject to availability

Hospitality, Leisure or Accommodation business with RV of £51,000 or more (approved before 1st March 2022)

£6,000

OHLG

Hospitality, Leisure or Accommodation business with RV of £51,000 or more (approved after 1st March 2022)

£6,000

ARG subject to availability

Hospitality, Leisure or Accommodation business with commercial premises and signed lease/licence, but no RV

£2,667

ARG subject to availability

Springback Round 2 Grant

Where funding allows, the Springback Round 2 Grant will provide a one-off grant of £2,667 to Newcastle businesses that have been negatively impacted by the Omicron variant of Covid; but were not eligible for the Omicron Hospitality & Leisure Grant. This includes those with commercial premises, and those without as long as the business owner is registered for Council Tax in the city. We propose that to be eligible for this grant, businesses must:

  • Be able to evidence they have been actively trading from a property in Newcastle for a period of at least 3 months leading up to and including the 30th Dec 2021 (residential or commercial)
  • Have not been eligible to receive an Omicron Hospitality & Leisure Grant
  • Be able to demonstrate they have been severely impacted by the Omicron wave, and can explain how the grant award would help them mitigate the impact
  • Not be in administration, insolvent or has been struck off the Companies House register
  • Not have exceeded the permitted subsidy allowance

Subsidy allowance

This scheme is covered by 3 possible subsidy allowances:

Small Amounts of Financial Assistance Allowance – you’re allowed up to £335,000 (subject to exchange rates) in Small Amounts of Financial Assistance over any rolling period of 3 financial years

COVID-19 Business Grant Allowance – under this allowance you’re allowed up to £1,900,000 across all COVID-19 Business Grant schemes

COVID-19 Business Grant Special Allowance - if you have reached your limits under the Small Amounts of Financial Assistance Allowance and COVID-19 Business Grant Allowance, you may be able to access a further allowance of funding under these scheme rules of up to £10,000,000 across all COVID-19 Business Grant schemes

Grants under these 3 allowances can be combined for a potential total allowance of up to £12,235,000 (subject to exchange rates)

Where applicants operate from commercial premises in the city, they must be able to provide evidence, such as business rates account details, or signed leases.

Where applicants do not have commercial premises in the city, they must have been registered as Newcastle residents within our Council Tax records prior to the 30th Dec 2021. In these occasions, applicants must be able to provide details of their Council Tax records when applying.

A business can receive no more than one Springback Round 2 Grant. Similarly, a Newcastle resident can only apply for one Springback Round 2 Grant. Should a Newcastle resident be responsible for more than one business that would meet the eligibility criteria, they should apply on behalf of the business that would typically generate the most income.

Due to a limited availability of funding, applications will be verified and approved in the order in which they are submitted and all outstanding queries have been resolved. Failure to supply all necessary evidence in a timely fashion where requested may result in the approval of your application being delayed. As a result your application may be rejected as our limited funding may have been fully allocated, or we may have reached the funding deadline by which we can make any further payments.

The Council cannot make any guarantees regarding the availability of ARG funding, and we retain the right to close or alter the ARG funded element of the scheme at any point without warning or justification.

Our decision is final and there is no appeals process

Covid Outbreak Support Fund

This grant is aimed at businesses operating out of commercial premises, that under normal circumstances are open to the public, but have been forced or chosen to close their premises due to staff shortages due to an outbreak of Covid-19.

The following criteria will apply:

  • Businesses must be able to demonstrate that they have been severely impacted due to a Covid-19 outbreak to qualify for grant support.
  • Eligible businesses must have at least 3 employees (this can include owners or directors working in the business)
  • Businesses must rely on their commercial premises being open to the public to trade (e.g. retail, bar, café, etc) and must not be able to conduct normal business from home
  • Businesses must have had to close to the public for at least 3 days
  • Businesses must be able to evidence they have been trading (i.e. making sales) for at least 3 months
  • Businesses must have been open for the four-week period prior to the relevant closure or restricted opening of the business due to the Covid-19 outbreak
  • A business can only apply for a grant once within any 28 day period.
  • An application must be received within 28 days of the period of closure commencing.

Businesses are not eligible for support if:

  • They are in administration, are insolvent or where a striking-off notice has been made
  • The award of grant would breach subsidy allowance limits
  • They are operating their business from home
  • They are able to conduct their main service because they do not depend on providing direct in-person services from premises and can operate their services effectively remotely

Businesses that occupy commercial premises but are not the registered business rates payer must also demonstrate they have fixed premises costs of at least £500 per month and can evidence these regular, ongoing payments in their business’ bank account.

Evidence Requirements

Within an online application form, applicants will be asked to provide:

  • Company registration number (if applicable)
  • Business rates account number (if applicable)
  • A statement outlining how the businesses has been severely impacted by the outbreak
  • Confirmation of the date the business closed, and that the period of consecutive days closure was not less than 3
  • Bank statements for the last 3 months that clearly show property costs
  • Evidence that staff have Covid-19 or have been required to isolate (Track & Trace app screenshot, public health letter, etc)

 

If the business is not registered as the business rates payer they will need to provide a copy of a signed lease or licence for their property. This can be provided separately by email by contacting businesssupport@newcastle.gov.uk quoting your application form reference number.

Audit checks will take place where you may be asked to support the evidence supplied. Should applicants be unable to provide satisfactory evidence, your application may be refused. If you have already received a grant, you will be required to return this to the Council. We reserve the right to request additional evidence at any time.

The level of grant available is based upon the number of staff employed by the business at the premises affected.

 

 

3 or more consecutive days closed

3-5 employees*

£1,000

6-10 employees*

£2,000

More than 10 employees*

£3,000

*This is either full time or part time employees, not full-time equivalents.

will also be shared with all teams within the Council who are likely to come into contact with businesses who may be eligible.

Digital Tech Resilience Grant

The Digital Tech Resilience Grant aims to primarily support SMEs that rely on in-person custom within their commercial premises (though SMEs in other circumstances will also be considered) and have already accessed the free digital consultancy support provided by the North of Tyne Combined Authority funded ‘Digital Pathfinders’ programme. The ‘Digital Pathfinders’ team will help the SME identify appropriate technology that will help make their workplaces more efficient and Covid resilient, and our grant would cover 50% of the cost of the technology (up to a maximum of £3k) with the SME contributing the remainder.

 The following criteria will apply:

  • The business must be based within Newcastle
  • The business must have been referred for a grant by the Digital Pathfinders team.
  • The business must meet all the qualifying criteria for Digital Pathfinders support, and have completed all necessary paperwork, including a data sharing agreement between the Digital Pathfinder team and Newcastle City Council (where appropriate)
  • With the support of the Digital Pathfinders team, the business must be able to evidence that their digital technology investment is appropriate for the business; provides value for money; and should lead to an increase in Covid resilience.
  • An increase in Covid resilience is judged to be any activity that ultimately reduces the risk to the business, staff and customers caused by new Covid related cases, or mitigates against future occurrences. Examples include but are not limited to the following:
    • Technology that reduces the need for direct face to face interactions
    • Technology that better manages the movement of people
    • Technology that allows for multi-channel sales
  • The Digital Tech Resilience Grant will be paid retrospectively once evidence of spend has been provided to Newcastle City Council.
  • The grant will cover 50% of the overall project cost of the investment, up to a maximum grant award of £3,000. There is no minimum grant award.
  • We expect project costs to be external costs to the applicant. We will not reimburse internal charges e.g. internal staff time.
  • Only one grant will be awarded per business.

 Businesses are not eligible for support if:

  • They are in administration, are insolvent or where a striking-off notice has been made
  • The award of grant would breach subsidy allowance limits

Audit checks will take place where you may be asked to support the evidence supplied. Should applicants be unable to provide satisfactory evidence, your application may be refused. If you have already received a grant, you will be required to return this to the Council. We reserve the right to request additional evidence at any time.

Grant Award Process

The Council has been awarded limited funds from Government for these scheme and it is expected that there will be a high level of demand from business. 

Grant awards will be made at the levels set out above to applicants satisfying the above eligibility criteria, subject to the availability of resources. 

Applications for grant will be made through a dedicated online grant portal and business will be required to confirm they are eligible for the scheme(s). 

A grant may be paid for each qualifying property from which an applicant business operates eligible activity. A separate application must be submitted for each eligible property. 

Payments will be made directly to approved recipients’ bank accounts by electronic transfer. 

Beneficiaries will receive written confirmation stating that by accepting the grant payment, the business confirms that they are eligible for the grant scheme, including that any payments accepted will be subject to state aid requirements. 

Subsidy Control 

The United Kingdom has now left the European Union, and there is a new UK subsidy control regime. The previous State aid rules no longer apply in most circumstances. 

Under this new subsidy control regime, the Council is permitted to award an individual/organisation up to approximately £335,000 (as of 2 March 2021, subject to currency fluctuations) in any three fiscal years. Funding is subject to this allowance not being exceeded during that period. This £335,000 allowance also includes any previous funding you/your organisation received as de minimis State aid (under the previous regime). Applicants will be required to declare any such subsidy/aid received in the last three years. 

(Further information on this allowance can be found within Section 5.1 of the guidance) 

Where this limit has been exceeded, it may still be possible for the Council to provide funding support. Applicants in this position should contact businesssupport@newcastle.gov.uk for further details.  

For example it may be possible, subject to eligibility, to provide additional funding under the COVID-19 Business Grant Allowance or COVID-19 Business Grant Special Allowance. 

Other Information 

Grant income received by a business is taxable. Only businesses which make an overall profit once grant income is included will be subject to tax. 

The Government and the Council will not accept deliberate manipulation and fraud and any business falsifying their records to gain grant money will face prosecution and any funding issued will be subject to claw back, as may any grants paid in error. 

The Council does not accept any liability for any issues that may arise for businesses because of applying for, receiving, or not receiving grant payments under this scheme. 

The Council reserves the right to vary the terms, or close the schemes at any time, and without notice, should it be necessary to do so. 

There is no appeal process. 

Enquiries about the scheme can be emailed to businesssupport@newcastle.gov.uk 

Go here  to go back to the business support page.


[1] As defined in Article 2(18) of the General Block Exemption Regulation

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