Publication - Advice and guidance

Coronavirus (COVID-19) local restrictions grants: local council and enterprise agency guidance

Published: 14 May 2021
Last updated: 29 Jul 2021 - see all updates

Information for local councils and enterprise agencies on financial support for specific businesses impacted by the decision to retain restriction levels.

Coronavirus (COVID-19) local restrictions grants: local council and enterprise agency guidance
Moray

Local Restrictions Grant: Moray 

Information in this document is provided by the Scottish Government, in conjunction with the Convention of Scottish Local Authorities (COSLA), to Scottish local authorities.

Following the decision on Friday 14 May to retain Protection Level 3 Restrictions in Moray for an additional period beyond the timeframes identified in the Routemap due to rising rates of COVID-19 infection rates in the area, the Scottish Government announced its intention to provide additional support for businesses specifically impacted by these localised restrictions.

This grant funding will be made available through powers conferred by Sections 126 and 127 of the Housing Grants, Construction and Regeneration Act 1996.

This document has no statutory basis, is offered without prejudice to relevant legislation and legal decisions, and does not constitute legal advice.  

The document aims to inform a mutual understanding amongst local authority practitioners engaged in the administration of these grants.  It includes specific information relating to the grants.

Given their responsibilities for managing public funds, it is up to Moray Council (the Council) to ensure that procedures for administering the grants are suitably robust, including due diligence to mitigate fraud and for audit purposes.

The Council is expected to seek recovery of overpayments including pressing criminal charges where necessary, if fraudulent claims are found. The Council will not be held financially liable for overpayments associated with fraud and error.  The exception to this would be circumstances where a council is found to be materially not compliant with the relevant UK Government fraud control guidance.

Ratepayers are eligible for a one-off grant regardless of any arrears. The Council has 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.  

How the grants will be provided

The Council will administer the grants and will be responsible for delivering the funding to eligible businesses. We will fund the Council to make this payment, and may make additional funding available to support businesses should it be necessary to retain Protection Level 3 restrictions within the Moray Council area beyond a two week period.  Local authorities should align this additional grant process with the existing criteria and payment process for the Strategic Framework Business Fund. Local authorities are asked to process these payments by 21 May 2021 

Eligibility for support through this fund is predicated on whether a business has previously been in receipt of financial support through the Strategic Framework Business Fund or the Small Accommodation Providers Paying Council Tax Support Fund, the Council is not therefore required to set up a separate application process for this fund. 

Our preference is for payments to be made into Business Bank Accounts although payments into personal bank accounts are permissible where local authorities are able to verify that the account is used for business purposes.  

The Council is expected to offer an appeals process for applicants.

Due diligence, monitoring and reporting requirements

The Scottish Government will require local authorities to supply agreed management information on 2 June confirming, by sector and RV class: the number of of eligible businesses; awards made and the number of and amounts of actual payments made.  A final reconciliation return will be commissioned for delivery at a later date.

Moray local restrictions grant eligibility and award levels

Levels of grant awards and eligibility

Businesses in Moray that the Regulations specifically require to remain closed at Protection Level 3 but would be permitted to open in other parts of Scotland from Monday 17 May are eligible for:

  • a one off grant of £1,500 for properties with Rateable Value of £51,001 or over 
  • a one off grant of £1,000 for properties with Rateable Value up to £51,000 

Businesses in Moray that the Regulations specifically require to modify their operations by virtue of being in Protection Level 3 are eligible for:

  • a one off grant of £1,050 for properties with Rateable Value of £51,001 or over
  • a one off grant of £700 for properties with Rateable Value up to £51,000 

To ensure parity with businesses elsewhere in Scotland, only those businesses in Moray that remain closed in Protection Level 3 but which would have otherwise permitted to open or subject to less stringent restrictions from Monday 17 May in accordance with the Scottish Government’s Routemap are eligible for support. 

Businesses impacted by travel restrictions

We are also extending this financial support to businesses that are not specifically required to close or modify their operations at Protection Level 3 but that are impacted by the travel restrictions that come into force at this level. For the purposes of this scheme, the Scottish Government considers that grants at the levels specified below should be awarded to accommodation providers (B&Bs, self-catering accommodation, hostels, caravan parks and campsites) and visitor attractions (museums and historic sites, zoos and aquaria) whose trade relies on visitors from outside the local authority area. A full list of businesses considered eligible for support is set out at Appendix 1 to this submission. Crucially, businesses are only eligible if they have previously been in receipt of financial support through the Strategic Framework Business Fund or the Small Accommodation Providers Paying Council Tax Support Fund.

Businesses in Moray that are impacted by travel restrictions but that are not specifically required to close or modify their operations by Regulation at Protection Level 3 are eligible for:

  • a one off grant of up to £1,000 for properties with a Rateable Value of £51,001 or over
  • a one off grant of up to £500 for properties with a Rateable Value up £51,000 or which pay Council Tax rather than Non-Domestic Rates

A full list of the grant awards that businesses within specific sectors are eligible for can be found at Appendix 1 to this Guidance

Multiple properties

Where a business operates multiple premises, it is eligible for a grant for each one, consistent with eligibility for Strategic Framework Business Fund.

Additional eligibility criteria

In addition to levels of grant award, this guidance also sets out the criteria which the Scottish Government considers appropriate for the purpose of determining eligibility for these grants. It should be read and applied in conjunction with my guidance letter of 9 November 2020 and 27 January 2021 on the Strategic Framework Business Fund and the Guidance documents for Small Accommodation Providers Paying Council Tax Fund issued in early March. In the main, criteria for eligible sectors must replicate the updated eligibility criteria already in use for businesses in areas subject to Protection Level 3 restrictions. Any business not specifically mentioned in regulations is not eligible.  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.

Subsidy control considerations

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.

The Council 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. Further guidance on the application of these agreements is provided by the Department of Business, Enterprise, Innovation and Skills.

In relation to grants awarded prior to 31 December 2020 the EU State aid rules apply. Our guidance on that point is set out below.

State Aid is a European Commission consideration of public assistance given to undertakings on a discretionary basis and having the potential to distort competition and affect trade between Member States of the European Union. An undertaking is defined as any entity, regardless of its legal status, which is engaged in economic (commercial/competitive) activity relating to a market in comparable goods or services. A grant reduces an undertaking’s current expenditure, and so can be regarded as State Aid.  

On 19 March 2020, the European Commission announced a temporary framework to enable Member States to further support the economy in the COVID-19 outbreak.

This temporary framework allows aid to be granted to undertakings facing difficulty as a result of the COVID-19 outbreak, and extends the limit of support to €800,000 in the form of grants, repayable advances and tax or payments advantages.  

The UK Government  submitted a UK-wide umbrella scheme Covid-19 Temporary Framework for UK Authorities’  which was approved under the Temporary Framework allowing UK public authorities to grant aid as quickly and as flexibly as possible.  Full details can be found in this guidance for local authorities and other public bodies. Local authorities should ensure that the applicable conditions are met, including obtaining the information required for transparency reporting purposes.

Support under this framework should only offered to properties that can demonstrate they were not in financial difficulty on 31 December 2019.  Councils must therefore ensure they hold this information from grants applicants.  See paragraph 18 of regulation (EU) No 651/2014 of 17 June 2014 for the definition of a “firm in difficulty”.

While the Temporary Framework covers aid granted until 31 December 2020, local authorities should on a precautionary basis continue to have regard to these requirements until otherwise advised.

 

Table - Status of Support under the Restrictions and Closure Funds by Sector and Premise

Financial Support for Businesses in Moray

Sector

Specific Premises Type

Level

Grant Award Level

0

1

2

3

4

CT

 

RV<£51k

RV≥£51k

Hospitality

Wet & Wet-led Public Houses

Restrictions Fund

Restrictions Fund

Restrictions Fund

Restrictions Fund

Closure Fund

£0

 

£700

£1,050

Food-led Public Houses

No Support

Restrictions Fund

Restrictions Fund

Restrictions Fund

Closure Fund

£0

 

£700

£1,050

Licensed Clubs

No Support

Restrictions Fund

Restrictions Fund

Restrictions Fund

Closure Fund

£0

 

£700

£1,050

Restaurants

No Support

Restrictions Fund

Restrictions Fund

Restrictions Fund

Closure Fund

£0

 

£700

£1,050

Cafes

No Support

No Support

No Support

Restrictions Fund

Closure Fund

£0

 

£700

£1050

Takeaways

No Support

No Support

No Support

No Support

No Support

£0

 

£0

£0

Accommodation

Hotels

No Support

Restrictions Fund

Restrictions Fund

Restrictions Fund

Closure Fund

£0

 

£700

£1050

Bed & Breakfast

No Support

No Support

No Support

No Support

Closure Fund

£500

 

£500

£1000

Caravans & Camping Sites

No Support

No Support

No Support

No Support

Closure Fund

£0

 

£500

£1000

Self Catering

No Support

No Support

No Support

No Support

Closure Fund

£500

 

£500

£1000

Hostels

No Support

No Support

No Support

No Support

Closure Fund

£0

 

£500

£1050

Shopping

Non-Essential Retail

No Support

No Support

No Support

No Support

Closure Fund

£0

 

£0

£0

Stadia & Events

Conference Centres

Restrictions Fund

Restrictions Fund

Restrictions Fund

Closure Fund

Closure Fund

£0

 

£1000

£1500

Music Venues & Art Facilities

Restrictions Fund

Restrictions Fund

Restrictions Fund

Closure Fund

Closure Fund

£0

 

£1000

£1500

Sports Stadia

Restrictions Fund

Restrictions Fund

Restrictions Fund

Closure Fund

Closure Fund

£0

 

£1000

£1500

Sports & Exercise

Gyms

No Support

No Support

No Support

Restrictions Fund

Closure Fund

£0

 

£700

£1050

Leisure Centre

No Support

No Support

No Support

Restrictions Fund

Closure Fund

£0

 

£700

£1050

Outdoor Centres

No Support

No Support

No Support

Restrictions Fund

Closure Fund

£0

 

£700

£1050

Leisure and Entertainment

Cinemas

No Support

No Support

No Support

Closure Fund

Closure Fund

£0

 

£1000

£1500

Amusement and Recreation

No Support

No Support

No Support

Closure Fund

Closure Fund

£0

 

£1000

£1500

Bingo

No Support

No Support

Restrictions Fund

Closure Fund

Closure Fund

£0

 

£1000

£1500

Casinos

No Support

No Support

Restrictions Fund

Closure Fund

Closure Fund

£0

 

£1000

£1500

Nightclubs

Closure Fund

Closure Fund

Closure Fund

Closure Fund

Closure Fund

£0

 

£0

£0

Softplays

No Support

No Support

Closure Fund

Closure Fund

Closure Fund

£0

 

£0

£0

Snooker Club/ pool halls

No Support

No Support

Restrictions Fund

Closure Fund

Closure Fund

£0

 

£1000

£1500

Theatres

No Support

No Support

Restrictions Fund

Closure Fund

Closure Fund

£0

 

£1000

£1500

Comedy Clubs

No Support

No Support

Restrictions Fund

Closure Fund

Closure Fund

£0

 

£1000

£1500

Indoor Bowling Alleys

No Support

No Support

No Support

Closure Fund

Closure Fund

£0

 

£1000

£1500

Visitor Attractions

Museums and Historic Sites

No Support

No Support

No Support

No Support

Closure Fund

£0

 

£500

£1000

Zoos and Aquaria

No Support

No Support

No Support

No Support

Closure Fund

£0

 

£500

£1000

 

Visitor Centres

No Support

No Support

No Support

No Support

Closure Fund

£0

 

£500

£1000


First published: 14 May 2021 Last updated: 29 Jul 2021 -