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Coronavirus (COVID-19): funding for businesses affected by Omicron control measures

Funding for businesses affected by measures to control the spread of the Omicron variant of coronavirus - including the hospitality sector and taxi drivers.

Coronavirus (COVID-19): funding for businesses affected by Omicron control measures
Hospitality (including pubs and nightclubs)

Hospitality and leisure: January Business Support Top Up

In line with the commitment to sustainable and inclusive growth and the Coronavirus (COVID-19): fair work statement, we have allocated funding to support businesses in hospitality and leisure who are impacted by the requirement for physical distancing and capacity limits that came into force from 27 December 2021.

The January Business Support Top Up – Hospitality and Leisure Fund will provide financial support to businesses in the hospitality and leisure sectors affected by these changes. 

This page sets out the eligibility criteria, amounts which can be claimed and the application process. It has no statutory basis, is offered without prejudice to relevant legislation and legal decisions and does not constitute legal advice.

The January Business Support Top Up – Hospitality and Leisure fund is a Scottish Government fund administered by local authorities.

Who is eligible

The January Business Support Top Up - Hospitality and Leisure Fund will provide support to businesses in the hospitality and leisure sectors who are impacted by the restrictions introduced from 27 December 2021 where they are registered as one of the following.

Eligible business types

 
  • public houses

  • restaurants

  • cafes

  • other licensed premises classed as hospitality

  • nightclubs

  • hotels with bars and restaurants

  • conference centres

  • music venues

  • arts facilities

  • sports facilities

  • gyms

  • leisure centres

  • outdoor centres

  • cinemas

  • amusement and recreation businesses

  • bingo

  • casinos

  • soft play

  • snooker clubs

Exclusions

Any business not classed as one of the above will not be eligible for this funding. Awards are granted based on the primary function of the business. It is for a local authority to determine if a business meets the description and further information can be requested, where necessary, to determine eligibility of applications.

Large event/sport/football stadia, museums and historic sites are not eligible.

The public sector or arm’s-length external organisations (ALEOs) are not eligible.

Application process

In the first instance, local authorities will contact businesses they have previously made payments to through the Strategic Framework Business Fund or the Hospitality December and January Business Support Top Up Fund.

New business will be required to complete an application form. Additional details will be required to assess eligibility.

For the vast majority of eligible businesses, local authorities already hold sufficient data in order to establish eligibility and will contact businesses directly to make payment. This will be from previously held data where a business has received COVID-19 business support via the Local Authority in the past. For businesses where this is the case, there will only be a need to confirm the following when contacted:

  • that they are still a registered business

  • that they were trading at 20 December 2021

  • that they wish to receive funding

  • that the details the local authority already holds is up to date

Eligibility criteria for all businesses

Both businesses who have previously received an award and businesses making a new application must declare the following as part of the application process and supply documentation where necessary.

The business must:

  • have a business bank account
  • not have breached wider Covid regulations/requirements prior to local restrictions
  • not have connections to tax havens, as set out in the Coronavirus (Scotland) (No.2) Act 2020

Applicants are required to declare all previous support received from UK or Scottish or Local Government support schemes to provide local authorities with the necessary information to ensure payments are made correctly and compliant with EC State Aid limits.

Businesses set up since 3 November 2020 or where there has been a change of use

Businesses who are listed in the above hospitality and leisure sectors but have never received COVID-19 funding via the local authority, may be eligible for funding.

As a new business you will be required to complete an application formAdditional details will be required to assess eligibility.

New businesses are only required to submit one application if they’re eligible for both the Hospitality December and January Business Support Top Up and Hospitality and Leisure January Business Support Top Up.

Eligibility for new businesses

As the vast majority of eligible businesses will have already received COVID-19 business support via the local authority at some point in the last 20 months, they will have already established their eligibility and provided sufficient details to allow further payments to be made. Therefore, new business will be required to provide information which allows local authorities to assess eligibility. The eligibility criteria for those businesses are:

  • the business must have physical premises

  • the business should be the main occupier

  • the business owner should be responsible for paying non-domestic rates (NDR)

  • the business was trading as an eligible businesses as at 20 December 2021

The local authority will require evidence of how the businesses meets the eligibility criteria. Being registered for non-domestic rates will be the main way to do this and the application process will request the unique identifier number for this. The grant is available for businesses with premises registered for NDR as of 20 December. 2021. Local authorities may also ask for details on the business owner/s and evidence of premises being used as a business in one of the eligible businesses such as licensing details. In addition, other details will be required to allow payment to be made such as bank account details and proof of access to this. 

Local authorities have discretion to award grants to eligible businesses which lease or rent premises which are not rated, such as those leased from a council in a public park, provided they are satisfied with the validity and eligibility of individual cases.

The business must be actively trading, and be able to demonstrate they were on 20 December 2021. Where necessary, local authorities can request additional evidence to determine this eligibility such as receipts, banking or other evidence. 

Provided they meet all the eligibility criteria, businesses which are Limited Companies (including social enterprises), Sole Traders, Trusts, Partnerships, Community Interest Companies or Scottish Charitable Incorporated Organisations, may apply for a grant.

Level of grant award

The grant is a one-off payment at the rate of:

For hospitality businesses

  • £1,400 for premises which have a rateable value of up to and including £51,000 or

  • £2,100 for premises have a rateable value of £51,001 or above

For leisure businesses

  • £2,100 for premises which have a rateable value of up to and including £51,000 or

  • £3,150 for premises have a rateable value of £51,001 or above

The rateable value of the property is considered to be as per local authority records at 1 November 2021. Any changes to the valuation roll after 1 November 2021 including changes backdated to this date should be disregarded for the purposes of eligibility. However if a property was requested to be entered into the roll or the entry modified before 1 November but delayed for administrative or systemic reasons, local authorities have discretion to consider such business eligible.

Multiple properties

Individual ratepayers with more than one business, may receive an award for each registered business entity.

Next steps

Local authorities will make contact by the end of January for businesses where they already hold sufficient data to contact the business owner and confirm the additional eligibility required. Most businesses will have been contacted by 21 January 2022. For new businesses, this will be within 14 days of receiving an application where eligibility has been established from the data provided. 

Payments will be processed subject to receiving any relevant supporting information required. The January Business Support Top Up – Hospitality and Leisure will close for applications at 5pm. on 31 January 2022. 

Payments will be made into the business bank account of the business where possible. It is for the local authority as delivery agent to discern and agree alternatives i.e. use of personal accounts where a business bank account is not held and where the applicant can demonstrate the account is used for business purposes. This will be subject to Fraud and Error controls and in line with local authority payment/finance controls.

Local authorities on behalf of the Scottish Ministers will offer a review process on application outcomes only, to allow businesses due process to challenge decisions. This will only apply to those classed as a new businesses who have set up since November 2020 or where there has been a change of use. It is for the local authority to offer an explanation on initial decisions and a formal review process should the business/applicant not be satisfied with the explanation. Business will need to request this in writing and the local authority will follow their own review/appeals process.

Information on this process should be sought directly from the local authority you applied to.

If you are a business in any of the eligible sectors listed above, and previously received funding under the Strategic Framework Business Fund, you will be contacted directly by your local authority. If you have further questions relating to this funding, please contact your local authority.

If you are a business in any of the eligible sectors listed above however you:

  • have not previously receive funding
  • are a new business registered after 3 November 2020

you will need to complete this application form. If you have questions about the application form, or experience technical difficulties contact the COVID-19 business support mailbox 

Management of the funding

Any personal information about individuals gathered through the process will be held in confidence, in keeping with data protection policy and practice. Information provided in connection with an application will not be passed on without consent.

This grant funding will be made available through powers conferred under sections 126 and 127 of the Housing grants, Construction and Regeneration Act 1996.

Given responsibilities to managing public funds, the Scottish Government and local authorities are required to ensure that procedures for administering the grant are suitably robust, including due diligence to mitigate fraud and for audit purposes. As such, the full process for applying to the fund will be set out within this document in January.

Where evidence of fraud or misuse of the fund is identified, this will be recorded and may be taken into account in future applications. Where appropriate, the applicant will be made aware this is the case and be given the opportunity to explain.

Local authorities will seek recovery of overpayments, including pressing criminal charges where necessary, where claims are found to be fraudulent.

Non domestic rate payers are eligible for a one-off grant regardless of any arrears. Local authorities have some discretion to withhold grant awards in very exceptional circumstances where the business has significant outstanding arrears, which have been subject to a court decision.

State aid/subsidy control

Applicants are required to declare all previous support received from UK or Scottish or Local Government support schemes to provide local authorities with the necessary information to ensure payments are made correctly and compliant with limits as set out in the EC State Aid COVID-19 Temporary Framework which is being used to provide safe harbour.

The EU State Aid rules no longer apply to subsidies granted in the UK following the end of the transition period, which ended on 31 December 2020. This does not impact the limited circumstances in which State Aid rules still apply under the Withdrawal Agreement, specifically Article 10 of the Northern Ireland Protocol.

The Local Authority will need to ensure that any funding awarded after 31 December 2020 is compliant with the UK’s international commitments arising from membership of the World Trade Organisation or through the UK’s various Free Trade Agreements, including the UK-EU Trade and Cooperation Agreement. Read further guidance on the application of Free Trade Agreements from the Department of Business, Enterprise, Innovation and Skills.

First published: 7 Jan 2022 Last updated: 21 Jan 2022 -