Publication - Advice and guidance

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: December and January Business Support Top Up

Overview

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 the hospitality sector who have lost bookings during this key trading period.

The December and January Business Support Top Up – Hospitality will provide financial support to businesses in the hospitality sector affected by the latest public health advice. 

This document 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 December and January Business Support Top Up – Hospitality is a Scottish Government fund administered by local authorities.

What you can get

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

  • £4,500 for premises which have a rateable value of up to and including £51,000, or
  • £6,800 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.

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

How you will be paid

Local authorities will make contact between now and the end of January for businesses where they already hold sufficient data to contact the business owner and confirm the additional eligibility required. 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 December and January Business Support Top Up – Hospitality will close for applications on 31 January 2022. 

Payments will be made into the business bank account of the business.

Local authorities on behalf of the Scottish ministers will offer a review process where they have provided a decision on an application for funding. Information on this process should be sought directly from the local authority you applied to.

Eligibility

The December and January Business Support Top Up – Hospitality will provide support to businesses in the hospitality sector who have lost crucial bookings during this key trading period where they are registered as one of the following:

  • public houses

  • restaurants and cafes

  • other licensed premises classed as hospitality

  • nightclubs

  • hotels with bars and restaurants

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.

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

The local authority will require evidence of how the businesses meets the eligibility criteria. Being registered for non-domestic rates (NDR) 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 8 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 8 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.

Both businesses where local authorities hold sufficient data and new businesses must declare the following as part of the application process and supply documentation where necessary.

The business must have a Business Bank Account.

The business must not have breached wider COVID regulations/requirements prior to local restrictions. 

The business must 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.

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 

How to apply

In the first instance, local authorities will contact businesses they have previously made payments to through the Strategic Framework Business Fund. 

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. In this instance this funding was last received in April 2021. 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 8 December 2021

  • that they wish to receive funding

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

If you are a new business

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

Businesses who are registered as a public house, restaurant, cafes, hotel with restaurants and bars, nightclub or other licensed club but have never received COVID-19 funding via the local authority, may be eligible for funding. 

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 following is the eligibility criteria for those businesses:

  • the business must have physical premises

  • the business should be the main occupier

  • the business owner should be responsible for paying non domestic rates

  • the business was trading as an eligible businesses as at 8 December 2021

The local authority will require evidence of how the businesses meets the eligibility criteria. Being registered for non-domestic rates (NDR) 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 8 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. 

New hospitality 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.

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 8 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.

Other information

Tax implications

Grant income received by an individual or business is taxable. Awards under this grant will need to be included as income in the tax return of the individual or business.

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.

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 & 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.

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