Coronavirus: Restrictions Business Fund

The Welsh Government has launched the Restrictions Business Fund to support businesses and sole traders that have been directly impacted by the additional restrictions put in place to control the spread of Covid-19  introduced during December 2020 (from the 4th for hospitality and some other sectors and more broadly from the 19th).

The purpose of the grant is to provide businesses with cash flow support and to help them survive the economic consequences of the restrictions introduced.

The grant seeks to complement other Covid-19 response measures to support businesses, social enterprises and charitable organisations in Wales.

The fund consists of two separate grants:

  • Non Domestic Rate Grant: For Businesses who have business premises registered with Business Rates (including those who are in receipt of rates relief) and meet the eligibility criteria
  • Discretionary Grant: For Businesses who do not have a business premises registered with business rates, and meet the eligibility criteria

Businesses cannot apply for the NDR grant and the Discretionary Grant

Business Wales

Business Wales provides tailored support to start–up, micro and small and medium sized businesses in Wales. The service can help you understand what your needs are and provide tailored support packages including access to online tools, workshops, specialist advisers and mentors. In addition to working with you on a business diagnostic and action plan, our advisers can also provide targeted financial advice and access other support that you might benefit from.

To find out more, please visit www.businesswales.gov.wales (external website).

Restrictions Business Fund Non Domestic Rate (NDR) Grant

These grants will be available to hospitality, tourism and leisure businesses and their supply chain and retail businesses with qualifying SBRR properties that can evidence (on a self-declared basis) greater than 40% reduction in turnover as a result of the new restrictions.

Grant A

A £3,000 cash grant payment for hospitality businesses / hospitality not-for-profit organisations and non-essential retail businesses with Small Business Rate Relief (SBRR) qualifying hereditaments with a rateable value of £12,000 or less.

Grant B

A £5,000 cash grant payment for hospitality businesses / hospitality not-for-profit organisations and non-essential retail businesses occupying hereditaments with a rateable value between £12,001 and £51,000.

Grant C

A £5,000 cash grant payment for hospitality businesses / hospitality not-for-profit organisations and non-essential retail businesses occupying hereditaments with a rateable value between £51,001 and £150,000.

Who can apply and how much for?

The NDR linked grant schemes being introduced by the Welsh Ministers for the December 2020 – January 2021 restrictions period are as follows.

Grant A

A £3,000 cash grant payment for hospitality businesses with Small Business Rate Relief (SBRR) qualifying hereditaments with a rateable value of £12,000 or less. Local authorities will process this £3,000 grant payment for qualifying hospitality businesses that received an SBRR linked grant via the recent Firebreak Lockdown scheme without need for any further application processes to be introduced.

Qualifying hospitality businesses that did not submit their details for an NDR grant during the Firebreak will need to complete a short registration form (see the section on ‘How to Apply’ for further information).

Grant A will be available to hospitality, tourism and leisure businesses and their supply chains and retail businesses with qualifying SBRR properties that can evidence (on a self-declared basis) a greater than 40% reduction in turnover as a direct result of the new restrictions. Local authorities will open the registration process for hospitality businesses on the 16th December and for other eligible businesses on the 4th January. Businesses applying in the January window will be asked to self-declare, via a short registration form whether they had a 40% reduction in turnover for December 2020 as compared to December 2019 or as compared to turnover for September 2020 if not trading in December 2019.

To qualify for this grant, businesses will occupy a hereditament with a rateable value of £12,000 or less.

For businesses needing to register, their hereditament must have been on the NDR rating list as of the 1st September 2020 and the ratepayer needs to have been in occupation of the property as of the 30th November 2020.

The multiple property restriction applied to the Small Business Rates Relief scheme applies to this grant. Therefore the same ratepayer may only receive the grant for a maximum of two properties in each local authority.

Grant A will also apply to ratepayers eligible for charitable relief and Community Amateur Sports Clubs (CASC) relief, operating in the leisure and hospitality sectors occupying properties with a rateable value of up to £12,000. Local authorities have discretion to provide grants to not-for-profit bodies they consider to be operating for charitable purposes but aren’t currently receiving charitable relief or CASC relief. This discretion will only apply to not-for-profit organisations who are in receipt of or have entitlement to discretionary rates relief and operate in the leisure or hospitality sectors.

Grant B

A £5,000 cash grant payment for hospitality businesses occupying hereditaments with a rateable value between £12,001 and £51,000. Local authorities will process this £5,000 grant payment for qualifying hospitality businesses that received a £5,000 NDR linked grant via the recent Firebreak Lockdown scheme without need for any further application processes to be introduced.

Qualifying hospitality businesses that did not submit their details for an NDR grant during the Firebreak will need to complete a short registration form which will be made available during December 2020.

Grant B will be available to hospitality, tourism and leisure businesses and their supply chains and retail businesses with rateable values of between £12,001 and £51,000 that can evidence (on a self-declared basis) greater than 40% reduction in turnover as a direct result of new restrictions. Local authorities will open the registration process for hospitality businesses on the 16th December and for other eligible businesses on the 4th January. Businesses applying in the January window will be asked to self-declare, via a short registration form whether they had a 40% reduction in turnover for December 2020 as compared to December 2019 or as compared to turnover for September 2020 if not trading in December 2019.

For businesses needing to register, their hereditament must have been on the NDR rating list as of the 1st September 2020 and the ratepayer needs to have been in occupation of the property as of the 30th November 2020.

The grant is also available to not-for-profit organisations occupying eligible hospitality and leisure properties.

Grant C

A £5,000 cash grant payment for hospitality businesses occupying hereditaments with a rateable value of £51,001 to £150,000. The applicant’s hereditament must have been on the NDR rating list as of the 1st September 2020 and the ratepayer needs to have been in occupation of the property as of the 30th November 2020.

Businesses will need to complete a short registration process which will be made available during December 2020.

Grant C will be available to hospitality, tourism and leisure businesses and their supply chains and retail businesses with rateable values of between £51,001 and £150,000 that can evidence (on a self-declared basis) a greater than 40% reduction in turnover as a direct result of new restrictions. Local authorities will open the registration process for hospitality businesses on the 16th December and for other eligible businesses on the 4th January. Businesses applying in the January window will be asked to self-declare,via a short registration form whether they had a 40% reduction in turnover for December 2020 as compared to December 2019 or as compared to turnover for September 2020 if not trading in December 2019.

The grant is also available to not-for-profit organisations occupying eligible hospitality properties.

In relation to self-catering accommodation, the same guidance as for previous NDR linked grant schemes applies, which is that properties will not be eligible for the grant unless the following criteria are met:

  • The self-catering accommodation can produce two years of trading accounts directly preceding the current financial year of the business
  • The self-catering accommodation must actually have been let for a period of 140 days or more in the financial year 2019-20
  • The self-catering accommodation business must be the primary source of income for the owner (minimum threshold is 50%).

For self-catering properties, local authorities have full discretion to request and examine trading business accounts, booking lists and self-assessment tax returns submitted to HMRC for the financial year ending 31 March 2019 if additional evidence is required to demonstrate that this criteria is met.

In relation to gambling and gaming, arcades of the type that could be classified as amusements rather than gambling premises are considered leisure establishments and are eligible for the grants either via the SBRR route or, where the rateable value of the premises makes them eligible, for the larger £5,000 grant as leisure facilities

Gaming establishments (as generally found in a city centre environment but potentially also located anywhere) that usually have limited access to people aged 18 and over and are a) not entitled to SBRR and b) where gambling rather than amusement is the predominant activity are not eligible for the retail, leisure and hospitality grant. The NDR scheme guidance for Retail, Leisure and Hospitality Rates Relief in Wales – 2020-21 explicitly excludes gambling hereditaments.

Businesses will not be eligible for any of these grants if they fall into one of the following categories:

  • Enforced closure having infringed social-distancing rules. However, if improvements have been made and the business has been allowed to re-open then they may be eligible for the grant (subject to meeting the eligibility criteria).
  • Businesses that chose to close but are not required to
  • In liquidation or dissolved or in process of being struck off
  • Breached State Aid limit

How to apply for the Restrictions Business Fund NDR Grant

You can apply for the Restrictions Business Fund NDR Grant online.

Apply for the Restrictions Business Fund NDR Grant online

Guidance on completing the Restrictions Business Fund NDR Grant online

Section 1: Information about your business

This part asks for information about your business. Please ensure the details in this section are accurate and complete. Application forms that have incomplete or inaccurate data will not be processed.

Section 2: Your personal details

This part asks for information about you ‘the applicant’.

Section 3: Impact of Covid-19 on your business

Please confirm or otherwise if the statements on the application form apply to your business. Also businesses applying in January need to complete the table with your actual turnover figure for December 2020 and actual turnover for December 2019 (or the monthly turnover for September 2020 if not trading in December 2019).

Section 4: Bank Details

Please provide your business bank account details as this information will be used to make the grant payment to you – please ensure these details are correct.

Businesses should be actively trading up to 4th December 2020 and may be required to provide evidence to demonstrate this.

Section 5: Statement of State Aid Received

You must declare if you have received any State Aid (including De Minimis Aid) during the previous 3 fiscal years (i.e. current fiscal year and the previous two fiscal years) together with the amount received and details of the awarding body.

Please include all Covid-19 related financial support you have received since March 2020.

Examples could include Economic Resilience Fund, Start-up Grant, Non Domestic Rate Grant (round 1)

What is De Minimis Aid?

In order to minimise distortion of competition the European Commission sets limits on how much assistance can be given to organisations operating in a competitive market. Under EC Regulation 1407/2013 (de minimis Aid Regulation) as published in the Official Journal of the European Union 24 December 2013, the support provided is a de minimis aid.

There is a ceiling of €200,000 (€100,000 for undertakings in the road transport sector) for all de minimis aid provided to any one organisation over a three fiscal year period (i.e. the current fiscal year and the previous two fiscal years). Any de minimis aid provided to you under this service will be relevant.

Please advise us of any other de minimis aid received during the current and previous two fiscal years, as we need to check that our support added to that previously received, will not exceed the threshold of €200,000 (€100,000 for undertakings in the road transport sector) over the last 3 fiscal years. Aid includes not only grant but also assistance such as free or subsidised consultancy services, marketing advice etc. If you are in any doubt about whether previous assistance received classes as de minimis assistance please include it.

Section 6: Declarations

Please read the declarations carefully and tick the boxes to confirm you accept and understand the declarations.

Restrictions Business Fund Discretionary Grant

 A discretionary grant of £2,000 is available to assist businesses that have:

  • Been forced or required to close as a result of the national restrictions put in place for hospitality businesses
  • Or are able to demonstrate that the latest restrictions put in place will result in at least a 40% reduction in their estimated turnover during the December 2020 to January 2021 period as compared to the December 2019 to January 2020 period (or September 2020 turnover if not trading in December 2019)
Who can apply?

Businesses that meet the following criteria may be eligible for the grant:

  • Business was trading prior to 1st September 2020
  • Businesses must be operating in Wales
  • Businesses must have one or more of the following
    • HMRC Unique Taxpayer Reference (UTR) Number
    • VAT Registration Number or a VAT exemption certificate (if applicable)
    • Company Registration Number (if applicable)
    • Hackney carriage license number or private minicab licence number (if applicable)
  • Business has been forced to close or has experienced a drop in turnover of more than 40% as a direct result of the restrictions introduced in Wales
  • Limited company with a turnover of between £10,000 and £50,000
  • Sole traders / partnerships with a turnover less than £85,000
  • The business must be your main source of income (>50%)
  • Supported businesses must aim to maintain employment for 12 months
  • Only one application per business
  • Businesses should be actively trading up to the 4 December when the new restrictions were introduced in Wales and may be required to provide evidence to demonstrate this
  • Businesses that are eligible for the Restrictions Business Fund NDR Grant are not eligible for this discretionary grant.
  • Businesses eligible for the ERF Sector Specific Support Grant are ineligible for this discretionary grant.
How much can you apply for?

A discretionary grant of £2,000 is available to assist businesses that have:

  • Been forced to close as a result of the national restrictions put in place.
  • The grant will also support businesses that estimate that the latest restrictions put in place will result in at least a 40% reduction in their turnover for during the December 2020to January 2021 period as compared to December 2019 to January 2020 (or September 2020 turnover if not trading in December 2019)
  • In relation to self-catering accommodation, properties will not be eligible for the grant unless the following criteria are met:
  • The self-catering accommodation can produce two years of trading accounts directly preceding the current financial year of the business
  • The self-catering accommodation must actually have been let for a period of 140 days or more in the financial year 2019-20
  • The self-catering accommodation business must be the primary source of income for the owner (minimum threshold is 50%).

For self-catering properties, local authorities have full discretion to request and examine trading business accounts, booking lists and self-assessment tax returns submitted to HMRC for the financial year ending 31 March 2019 if additional evidence is required to demonstrate that this criteria is met.

You are not eligible for this grant if:

  • You are eligible for, or have received, the Restrictions Business Fund NDR Grant from your Local Authority
  • You are eligible for, or have applied for the ERF Sector Specific Support Grant
  • If the business generates less than 50% of your income. The business must be your main source of income.

Businesses need to confirm that without the grant support the viability of the enterprise will be under threat, and outline why.

How to apply for the Restrictions Business Fund Discretionary Grant

You can apply for the Restrictions Business Fund Discretionary Grant online.

Applications will be dealt with on a first come first served basis. This may lead to applications not being appraised after they have been submitted if the fund is fully committed. Applicants will be notified of this by email.

We have absolute discretion on the duration and terms of the fund.

Apply for the Restrictions Business Fund Discretionary Grant online

Guidance on completing the Restrictions Business Fund Discretionary Grant form

Section 1: Your personal details

This part asks for information about you the applicant / business owner

Section 2: Information about your business

This part asks for information about your business. Please ensure the details in this section are accurate and complete. Application forms that have incomplete or inaccurate data will not be processed.

Businesses will not be eligible for the grant if they fall into one of the following categories:

  • Enforced closure having infringed social-distancing rules. However, if improvements have been made and the business has been allowed to re-open then they may be eligible for the grant (subject to meeting the eligibility criteria)
  • Businesses that chose to close but are not required to
  • In liquidation or dissolved or in process of being struck off
  • Breached State Aid limit
  • If the business your applying for is not your main source of income
Section 3: Impact of the lockdown on your business

Please confirm or otherwise if the statement on the application form applies to your business. The local authority may request further information/documentation to evidence this estimated turnover reduction. Also in this section please tell us how the latest restrictions introduced during December will directly affect your business

Section 4: Bank Details

Please provide your business bank account details as this information will be used to make the grant payment to you – please ensure these details are correct.

The local authority may request your latest bank statements and further information to confirm your bank details and evidence trading activity.

Section 5: Statement of State Aid Received

You must declare if you have received any State Aid during the previous 3 fiscal years (i.e. current fiscal year and the previous two fiscal years) together with the amount received and details of the awarding body.

Please include all Covid-19 related financial support you have received since March 2020.

Examples could include Economic Resilience Fund, Start-up Grant, Non Domestic Rate Grant (round 1)

What is De Minimis Aid?

In order to minimise distortion of competition the European Commission sets limits on how much assistance can be given to organisations operating in a competitive market. Under EC Regulation 1407/2013 (de minimis Aid Regulation) as published in the Official Journal of the European Union 24 December 2013, the support provided is a de minimis aid.

There is a ceiling of €200,000 (€100,000 for undertakings in the road transport sector) for all de minimis aid provided to any one organisation over a three fiscal year period (i.e. the current fiscal year and the previous two fiscal years). Any de minimis aid provided to you under this service will be relevant.

Please advise us of any other de minimis aid received during the current and previous two fiscal years, as we need to check that our support added to that previously received, will not exceed the threshold of €200,000 (€100,000 for undertakings in the road transport sector) over the last 3 fiscal years. Aid includes not only grant but also assistance such as free or subsidised consultancy services, marketing advice etc. If you are in any doubt about whether previous assistance received classes as de minimis assistance please include it.

Section 6: Declarations

Please read the declarations and tick the box to confirm you accept and understand them.

What happens after the application is received?

Decisions on applications will be made based on the information provided in the application form, associated evidence and information checks that are conducted from other business data sources. If any data is incomplete or incorrect or the evidence provided is insufficient we will not process the application and it will be rejected.

We aim to process finalised grant applications within 30 working days of receipt.

Grants will be paid on the basis that 100% of the grant is paid up front.

If your application is unsuccessful, you will receive an email outlining the reason[s] for rejection. There is no appeal process. 

Grant repayment

Applicants should note that we may require repayment of the grant in full or part if evidence emerges that the applicant was not eligible for either of the Restrictions Business Fund Grants.