Excluded businesses – both local and national restrictions
The following businesses are not eligible for an award:
Businesses in areas outside the scope of the localised restrictions, as defined by Government and not subject to widespread national restrictions.
- Businesses which have already received grant payments that equal the maximum levels of State aid permitted under the de minimis and the Covid-19 Temporary State Aid Framework; and
- Businesses that were in administration, are insolvent or where a striking-off notice has been made at the date of the local restriction or widespread national restriction.
Where the business is NOT shown in the local non-domestic rating list
For those businesses not shown in the local non-domestic rating list, we will determine grants once all other applications have been determined but will be consistent with the levels set out.
We reserve the right to change the amount of the grant award, depending on the number of applications received. The total of any grant we award cannot be challenged.
What can you apply for?
The Business Adaptations Grants Team is allocating grants to businesses in the hospitality sector which provide eligible invoices/receipts/quotes for purchases they have already made, or intend to make, in relation to adapting their business to COVID-19. Grants allocated will be made in direct relation to the amount evidenced by the business as having been spent/is planned to spend, rather than in relation to the type of purchase being made. The listed items below are examples of the type of purchase which would be deemed eligible; i.e. those which directly adapt the business to COVID-19. These examples are not exhaustive.
Businesses can claim back appropriate expenditure made from 15 October 2020 or planned expenditure, both based on the criteria set out below.
We will make Essex Business Adaptation Fund (EBAF) Grants of £500 for items which are to:
- Promote that the business is operating and COVID-secure such as signage, stencils, leaflets, advertising, web / mobile technology.
- Train, upskill, or reskill staff in courses directly connected to or associated with the adaptations or changes being made for businesses.
We will make EBAF Grants of £1000 for items which can include the items set out to claim £500 above and also include:
- Improvements, adjustments, or expanding business premises to assist them in continuing to operate in response to COVID-secure practices and social distancing guidelines in response to the current impact of COVID-19 (i.e. sanitiser stations/units, protective screens, barriers, adaptations for serving food and drink etc)
We will make EBAF Grants of £1500 for items which can include the items set out to claim £500 or £1000 above and also include:
- Costs associated with establishing and running an online presence where the business does not currently have an online presence (ie digital technology platforms / licensing)
- Enabling the business to diversify operations in order to generate new or enhance existing income streams including the purchase of equipment to enable this. Examples of eligible items include but are not limited to:
- Vehicles and personal transportation connected with providing delivery services such as cycles.
- Access improvements / amendments (i.e. motion sensor doors, queueing adaptations, one-way set-ups, improvised waiting areas etc)
- Internal adaptations (i.e. relocation of existing fixtures / fittings / services etc. potentially to support revised utilisation of space to ensure social distancing or diversified uses of premises)
- Exterior furniture, shelter, heating, lighting (i.e. tables, seating, benches, awning, canopy, patio-heaters, interventions to support appropriately spaced outdoor service etc).
What is excluded?
The following costs are excluded from the scheme and we will not make grants, and the eligible business shall not use grants, for:
- Equipment / adaptations which are not COVID-secure and do not follow the guidance and legislation set out by Her Majesty’s Government.
- Acquisition of land / buildings either directly or indirectly connected to making businesses COVID-secure.
- Direct subsidy of customers' purchases for example offering 50% off meals.
- Consultancy, design and statutory application fees.
- Professional fees (e.g. solicitor / surveyor / architect)
- Personal Protective Equipment, consumable items such as masks/gloves/sanitiser refill etc.
- Retrospective expenditure where works/items were already obtained prior to 15 October 2020 when additional restrictions were introduced.
- Expenditure incurred 28 days after a business receives notification that it has been successful in its application for an EBAF Grant.
The effective date
The effective date for eligibility is the date of the widespread national or local restrictions (LCAL3). Businesses must have been trading on the day prior to national or LCAL3 restrictions to be eligible to receive grant support.
Who can receive the grant?
Government has stated that the person who will receive the grant will be the person who, according to our records, was the ratepayer in respect of the business at the effective date. Where grants are awarded to businesses who are not liable for rates, we will decide who shall be awarded the grant.
Where we believe that the information we hold about the ratepayer at the effective date is inaccurate, we may withhold or recover the grant and take reasonable steps to identify the correct ratepayer.
Where it is subsequently determined that the records held are incorrect, we reserve the right to recover any grant incorrectly paid.
Where any business misrepresents information or contrives to take advantage of the scheme, we will look to recover any grant paid and take appropriate legal action. Likewise, if any ratepayer is found to have falsified records in order to obtain a grant.
Where there is no entry in the rating list for the business, we will have discretion to determine who should receive the grant.
How will grants be provided to Businesses?
Application information is available on the business grants schemes web page.
In all cases, businesses will be required to confirm that they are eligible to receive the grants. This includes circumstances where we already have bank details for the business and are in the position to send out funding immediately. Businesses are under an obligation to notify us should they no longer meet the eligibility criteria for any additional grants.
We reserve the right to request any supplementary information from businesses, and they should look to provide this, where requested, as soon as possible.
An application for an EBAF Grant is deemed to have been made when a duly completed application form is received via our online procedure.
In order to fairly administer the scheme, we have decided that awards will be determined as follows:
- There will be a limited period during which applications can be made. The original deadline of the end of February has been extended to June;
- Any business wishing to claim should complete the necessary form on our website. This will also include the provision of such evidence as required by us; and
- Once the application period is closed, all awards will be considered against the criteria laid down within this scheme, as soon as practicable.
EU State Aid Requirements
Any grant is given as aid under the Temporary Framework for State aid measures to support the economy in the current COVID-19 outbreak published on 19 March 2020. This means that businesses receiving support under these provisions can receive up to €800,000 in aid over three years (being the current and the previous two years).
Any grant awarded is required to comply with the EU law on State Aid. This will involve the applicant declaring to us if they have received any other de minimis State aid or aid provided under the EU Commission COVID-19 Temporary Framework.
If the applicant has not received any other State aid, they are not required to make that declaration to us or to complete any declaration statement.
Scheme of Delegation
The Council has approved this scheme.
Officers of the Council will administer the scheme and the Section 151 Officer is authorised to make technical scheme amendments to ensure it meets the criteria set by the Council and, in line with Government guidance.
Notification of Decisions
Applications will be considered on behalf of the Council by the Revenues and Benefits Service.
All decisions made will be notified to the applicant either in writing or by email. A decision shall be made as soon as practicable after an application is received.
Review of Decisions
The Council will operate an internal review process and will accept an applicant’s request for a review of its decision.
All such requests must be made in writing to the Council within 14 days of our decision and should state the reasons why the applicant disagrees with the decision. New information may be submitted at this stage to support the applicant's appeal.
The application will be reconsidered by a senior officer, as soon as practicable and the applicant informed in writing or by email of the decision.
The Councils ‘Complaints Procedure’ will be applied in the event of any complaint received about this scheme.
Taxation and the provision of information to Her Majesty’s Revenues and Customs (HMRC)
Government has told us that all payments under the scheme are taxable.
We do not accept any responsibility in relation to an applicant’s tax liabilities and all applicants should make their own enquiries to establish any tax position.
All applicants should note that we are required to inform Her Majesty’s Revenue and Customs (HMRC) of all payments made to business.
Managing the risk of fraud
Neither the Council, nor Government will accept deliberate manipulation of the schemes or fraud. Any applicant caught falsifying information to gain grant money or failing to declare entitlement to any of the specified grant will face prosecution and any funding issued will be recovered from them.
Applicants should note that, where a grant is paid by the Council, details of each individual grant may be passed to Government.
Recovery of amounts incorrectly paid
If it is established that any award has been made incorrectly due to error, misrepresentation or incorrect information provided by us, by an applicant or their representative(s), we will try to recover the amount in full.
Data Protection and use of data
All information and data provided by applicants shall be dealt with in accordance with the Council's Data Protection Policy and Privacy Notices.