Covid additional relief fund (CARF)

On 25 March 2021 the government announced a new Covid-19 additional relief fund (CARF) of £1.5 billion to support those business rate payers affected by the pandemic but not ineligible for existing support linked to business rates.

On 15 December 2021 the government published guidance on the operation of the fund and details of the funding allocation for each local authority. business rates relief for businesses adversely affected by the pandemic and have been unable to adapt. Businesses that received or would have been eligible for the Expanded Retail Discount or Nursery Discount in 2021/22 are not eligible for this scheme.

We have now developed a discretionary policy is that funding can be allocated to businesses. Please read the our Covid-19 additional relief policy.

The scheme will be open for applications until 31 May 2022.

Eligibility

To be eligible for this fund businesses must:

  • be able to demonstrate they have been adversely affected by the pandemic, have been unable to adequately adapt to that impact (e.g. staff unable to work from home or business not suitable for home working) and have suffered financially as a result.  
  • not have received, or been eligible for, the expanded retail discount or the nursery discount in 2021-2022. In other words, the business was liable to pay full rates on the property in 2021-2022, or reduced rates due to other reliefs such as small business rates relief or charitable relief
  • have been liable for occupied business rates for the period 1 April 2021 to 31 March 2022.
  • not be in administration, liquidation, been struck off or have had a striking off notice made, entered a CVA or IVA during 2021-2022
  • not be a public sector organisation or organisation funded to deliver a public or government service

Businesses not eligible for the scheme

The following businesses/property types will not be eligible under this scheme:

  1. Businesses in receipt of 100 per cent small business rates relief,
  2. Businesses in receipt of or would be eligible for retail, hospitality, leisure relief 
  3. Businesses that are not liable to pay any business rates during the 2021/22 financial period
  4. Empty properties
  5. Hospitals, and healthcare settings
  6. Medical and healthcare providers (including dentists and vets)
  7. Schools and other premises used for educational purposes
  8. Police stations and other premises, court premises
  9. Banks and building societies
  10. Post office and sorting offices
  11. Professional services (solicitors, accountants, Insurance agents, employment/recruitment agencies financial advisors, chartered surveyors, architects
  12. Property management and property development companies (including letting agents and rating management/consultants)
  13. Parking spaces and non-public fee paying car parks
  14. Advertising rights, communication stations
  15. Utility providers and companies in the energy sector,
  16. Land only rating  assessments
  17. Storage lockers and premises used for personal storage purposes
  18. Businesses that cannot satisfactorily demonstrate they have been adversely affected by the pandemic and have suffered financially
  19. Businesses that do not meet the eligibility criteria
  20. Businesses that do not complete a satisfactory subsidy control declaration or have exceeded subsidy limits

How much relief will I receive?

Due to funding for this scheme being limited the amount of relief will be determined once all applications have been received and assessed.  

The level of relief awarded may be a percentage of rates payable or a fixed amount and a cap may be set to limit the maximum amount to any one business or property

Relief will only be awarded in respect of the 2021/22 business rates liability after any other mandatory and discretionary reliefs. If there are no business rates to pay due to other reliefs being awarded, the business ratepayer will not be eligible for relief under this scheme.

Where a business has paid the 2021/22 business rates liability any credit will be transferred to the 2022/23 liability and instalments recalculated for the balance due. A refund will only be made if the overall account is in credit.

Subsidy control

The 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 you 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. Covid-19 business grants you have received from local government should count towards this limit. Further details of subsidy control can be found on GOV.UK.

On your application you will be required to indicate:

  • If you have not to date received any subsidy which fell within the Small Amounts of Financial Assistance or COVID-19 related allowances, confirm this in your application, or
  • If you have received other such subsidies, then you should provide the name and total value of those subsidies.

You must not apply for CARF using this form if you have already exceeded the £2,243,000 allowance. Please contact businessrates@cheltenham.gov.uk for further advice. However, we will still consider applications for support under the CARF scheme if you have reached this limit provided you can evidence that you:

  • 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 per cent of their uncovered costs (although this 70 per cent limit does not apply to small businesses with less than 50 employees and less than £9 million turnover where the limit is instead 90 per cent), and
  • have shown a decline in turnover of at least 30 per cent within the April 2020 to March 2021 period, compared to the same 2019 to 2020 period.

You may claim up to a further £10 million of additional allowance (on top of the £2,243,000) if you meet the above tests and you 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).

Before you apply

Please read our Covid-19 additional relief policy to ensure you meet the eligibility criteria before you start your application.

You will need the following information:

  • business rates reference number
  • unique identifier, such as company registration number
  • turnover figures for 2019-2020, 2020-2021 and 2021-2022 You can give an estimated amount for 2021-2022 if the actual figure is not available when you apply
  • confirmation of Subsidy Allowance compliance

A decision will be made on applications as soon as practicably possible after the closing date on 31 May 2022. If we need further evidence or clarification on your application, we will contact you.

The reduction will be awarded after all other discounts and reliefs are awarded. If there are no business rates to pay due to a full reduction, the ratepayer will not be eligible for CARF.

How to apply

Complete the application form and email it to businessrates@cheltenham.gov.uk.