Omicron Additional Restrictions Grant (OARG)
On 21 December 2021 alongside the mandatory Omicron Hospitality and Leisure Grant the Government announced that further Additional Restrictions Grant (ARG) funding would be made available to Local Authorities to help support businesses severely impacted by the rise of the Omicron variant. Rother District Council has received £173,392 of this funding to support businesses within the District.
As with previous ARG funding it’s for each Local Authority to design their own scheme within the national criteria set by Government. However as the funding available has reduced from previous rounds, the Council’s scheme this time is narrower in scope than previous rounds. This means that many businesses that have previously received ARG funding will not be eligible for support this time.
The scheme is a one off grant called the Omicron Additional Restrictions Grant (OARG) which eligible businesses will be required to apply for. Values of awards will not be confirmed until after the application window has closed. This is so that we can make sure we fully understand the number of businesses that are eligible for support and are then able to award an appropriate value from the funding available. However the amounts awarded may differ between sectors.
Omicron Hospitality and Leisure Grant (OHLG)
On 21 December 2021, the Government announced the introduction of a grant to support businesses that offer in-person services, where the main service and activity takes place in a fixed Business Rated premises, within the hospitality, leisure and accommodation sectors.
The scheme is a one-off grant called the Omicron Hospitality and Leisure Grant (OHLG) which eligible businesses will be required to apply for, and the amount a business receives will depend on the rateable value of the premises as follows:
How much funding will be provided to businesses?
|Rateable Value||Grant (£)|
|£15,000 or less||£2,667|
|£15,001 – £51,000||£4,000|
|£51,001 or more||£6,000|
Discretionary Business Grants – Making a difference
The Council has secured additional funding from Government of approximately £700,000 to continue to support businesses through the impact of COVID – 19. Whilst some of this money will be used to meet the final grants from previous discretionary schemes, the Council has approved a new discretionary grant scheme, designed to have a longer legacy for local businesses and the Rother economy.
The scheme has been designed to provide support to businesses within five distinct areas:
- Businesses closed due COVID 19 isolation
- Rural Businesses
- Empty Shops
- Empty Businesses rated property
- Staff Training and Development
Some key questions about the scheme are answered on our Frequently Asked Questions pages
Expanded Retail and Nursery Discount
At the Budget on 3 March 2021, the Chancellor announced that the Government would provide additional business rates support for eligible retail, hospitality, leisure and nursery businesses in England occupying a qualifying property.
- From 1 April 2021 to 30 June 2021 the Expanded Retail and Nursery Discount is 100% relief, uncapped.
- From 1 July 2021 to 31 March 2022, the discount will be reduced to 66% relief for eligible properties in the scheme, with a cash cap of £2m for businesses that were required to close as at 5 January 2021, and up to £105,000 for businesses and nurseries permitted to open at that date.
If you believe you are eligible for the discount from 1 July 2021 you need to register and apply online here. You will need your property reference number which is the 13 digit number found on your business rates bill. If you have previously applied for a grant, you can use the same login details.
Further information regarding the Expanded Retail and Nursery Discount can be found on our Relief and Unoccupied Page.
Business support finder
A new ‘support finder’ tool has been launched by the Government to help businesses and self-employed people across the UK to quickly and easily determine what financial support is available to them during the coronavirus pandemic.
The finder tool on GOV.UK asks business owners to fill out a simple online questionnaire, which can take minutes to complete, and they will then be directed to a list of all the financial support they may be eligible for. The support finder can be found at https://www.gov.uk/business-coronavirus-support-finder
Support for self-employed through the Self-employment Income Support Scheme
The Government has launched the Self-employment Income Support Scheme (SEISS) which will support self-employed individuals (including members of partnerships) who have lost income due to coronavirus (COVID-19).
This scheme will allow you to claim a taxable grant worth 80% of your trading profits up to a maximum of £2,500 per month for the next 3 months. This may be extended if needed. There are qualifying criteria and we understand that the payment is likely to be paid in arrears in June for the April to June period.
The Government have published a whole webpage for supporting businesses, including those who are self-employed.
The Council may also be able to help you with paying your council tax:
Existing Housing Benefit / Council Tax Reduction claimants: Please email: firstname.lastname@example.org if you are no longer undertaking Self Employed work due Covid-19 restrictions and we will reassess your entitlement to help, based on your revised circumstances. If your situation changes again (e.g. you are able to recommence working) or if you receive a grant from the Government payable under the Self-employment Income Support Scheme (SEISS), then you must tell us as soon as possible.
New Council Tax Reduction claims, please go online to the Housing Benefit and Council Tax Reduction application form, to make an application or if you are claiming Universal Credit you will be able to opt to claim a reduction in your council tax as part of your application process. You can apply even if you have been trading for more than 52 weeks but are now earning less, we will not apply the Minimum Income Floor for 6 months. We are treating Covid-19 as a significant change to a business and will consider it a fresh start- up period giving you access to this help. Further information is available on the Council Tax Reduction page.
For more information about the Government’s support measures for businesses please visit the UK Government web page: https://www.gov.uk/coronavirus/business-support
Further advice and guidance is also available through the East Sussex Growth Hub: https://southeastbusiness.org.uk/east-sussex/
You can listen to Covid-19 Business Support explained in other languages on the Business East Sussex website.