Guidance notes for Liverpool City Region Additional Restrictions Grant 3

The ARG3 grant scheme will be open for applications from 10am on Monday 24th January 2022, and close at 5pm on Friday 4th February 2022.

Businesses are advised to apply for the grants as soon as practicable, and to ensure that all the evidence is attached to the online grant form. Any application that does not have the required information or evidence will be treated as invalid and rejected. Applicants will also be required to self-certify that they meet the eligibility criteria.

Eligibility

Eligible business must be a Small or Micro business as described under the Companies Act 2006.

  • A Small Business must satisfy two or more of the following requirements in a year: turnover not more than £10.2 million; balance sheet total of not more than £5.1 million; staff headcount of not more than 50.
  • A Micro Business must satisfy two or more of the following requirements in a year: turnover, not more than £632,000; balance sheet total of not more than £316,000; staff headcount of not more than 10.

In addition the business must:

  • Based in the Liverpool City Region
  • Employ 1 to 50 staff (a sole director, or self-employed person counts as 1 staff member).
  • Able to demonstrate that trading activities have been significantly impacted by the Omicron variant and provide information in the free text box to prove this, for example, the impact on business turnover, temporary business closure, loss of regular business income, cancellation and / or loss of contracts / bookings, proof of loss of income
  • Trading as at date of application and continues to trade, i.e., continuing to trade with a view to making a profit or surplus (not a dormant company). A business is excluded if it is:
  • dissolved or about to be dissolved
  • a dormant company
  • insolvent or if insolvency action had been instigated against it

As part of the appraisal process, Liverpool City Council will take into account whether: the business is based in commercial property or whether it is home-based: the level of fixed costs of the business; the number people employed by the business; its ability/inability to trade online; and the consequent scale of Omicron losses.

Liverpool City Council reserves the right to vary the terms of the ARG3 scheme or suspend or close the scheme with immediate effect, without notice and at any time. 

Who will receive this funding?

For the avoidance of doubt, the ARG3 grant is intended for businesses that are ineligible for the Omicron Hospitality and Leisure grant (OHLG). If you think you are eligible for the OHLG grant you can still apply for it.

The ARG3 grant is targeted at businesses that meet the criteria set out below i.e. those businesses that have been severely impacted by the Omicron variant and that are outside of the business rates system: 

  • Accommodation - not Airbnb
  • Breweries
  • Caterers and catering suppliers/equipment
  • English language schools
  • Entertainment industries e.g. self-employed/professional musicians, promoters, artist agents/management companies
  • Events industries e.g.marquee, sound & lighting, security company, event entertainment agency, event planner/management, event photographer, event/hospitality staffing agency
  • Freelance and mobile businesses, e.g. caterers, events, hair, beauty
  • Gyms
  • Hospitality businesses
  • Leisure businesses
  • Nightclubs
  • Personal care
  • The travel and tourism sector e.g., group travel, travel agents and tour operators/facilitators, coach operators, limousine hire
  • Theatres
  • Wedding related businesses
  • Wholesalers
  • Those in the supply chains of the Hospitality and Leisure sectors

Businesses that are trading and that meet the eligibility criteria may apply to receive funding under this scheme.

For the purposes of this grant scheme, a business is trading if it is engaged in business activity. This should be interpreted as carrying on a trade or profession or buying and selling goods or services to generate turnover. To help further, some trading indicators are included below that can help assess what can be defined as trading for the purposes of the grant schemes. Indicators that a business is trading are:

  • The business continues to trade, including online, via click and collect services etc.
  • The business is engaged in business activity i.e. Managing accounts, preparing for reopening, planning, and implementing COVID-safe measures

This list of indicators is not exhaustive, and Liverpool City Council will use their discretion to determine if a business is trading.

Fully constituted businesses in liquidation, dissolved, struck off or subject to a striking-off notice are not eligible under these conditions.

In administering the grant, the Council will adopt the following priorities: 

  • Providing assistance to those businesses in the hospitality, leisure and accommodation sectors that have been significantly impacted by the Omicron variant
  • Providing support to as many businesses as possible within the available resource
  • Delivering a grant application scheme and a decision-making process which are clear, straightforward, and swift.

Grant payments

Applications will be assessed in order of date received as long as they are complete. Incomplete applications will be rejected. Applicants will receive an automatic response and a unique reference number (URN) which is confirmation that the application has been submitted and is in the system for assessment. 

Successful applicants will be notified by email, and payments will be made by BACS - this usually takes three working days to arrive in accounts.

  • Home-based businesses: £1K
  • Businesses in commercial property: £3K

The grant amounts given to individual businesses will be subject to subsidy allowances. Businesses that have already received grant payments that equal the maximum permitted levels of subsidy will not be eligible to receive funding.

The Council does not accept any liability for any Internet, IT, or operational issues that may arise when a business applies or attempts to apply for a grant. 

Application process

Businesses must use the online application form to apply for ARG3. The online grant application cannot be saved therefore evidence and information to support the application must be uploaded at the same time the application form is completed. 

Applicants are advised to read the Checklist and gather information and evidence in advance of completing the online form.

The online application form portal can be accessed using Chrome or Edge browsers, the form is not compatible with many mobile phones or the Safari browser. Incomplete applications will be rejected.

To comply with Government guidance, applicants must provide Liverpool City Council with the following information: 

  1. Name of business
  2. Business Trading Address including postcode
  3. Unique identifier  - preferably Company Reference Number (CRN) - if applicable. If not applicable, VAT Registration Number, Self-Assessment/Partnership Number, National Insurance Number, Unique Taxpayer Reference, Registered Charity Number will also be acceptable
  4. High level SIC Code
  5. Nature of Business
  6. Date business established
  7. Number of employees
  8. Business rate account number, where applicable

ARG funding cannot be used as a wage support mechanism or for capital projects.

Businesses will need to notify Liverpool City Council immediately if they no longer meet the eligibility criteria for the ARG3 grant (for example, if they become insolvent or have maximised subsidy allowances).

Please note: A business may apply for one grant only, a business that occupies several premises in the Liverpool City

Managing the risk of fraud

Liverpool City Council will not accept deliberate manipulation and fraud. Any business caught falsifying their records to gain additional grant money will face prosecution and any funding issued will be recovered, as may any grants that have been paid in error. 

Any suspected attempt at supplying false or inaccurate information will be recorded and acted upon. Further information is included in our Privacy Policy.

For the avoidance of doubt, Liverpool City Council is required to undertake pre-payment and post-payment due diligence checks to inform grant-making decisions.  To assist in the due-diligence process and in performing eligibility checks for the grants, applicants must provide the information requested, including evidence of trade, for example bank statements, signed lease agreement / mortgage statement, utility bill, recent invoice, business / professional indemnity insurance certificate. Liverpool City Council will retain all evidence supplied by applicants for a period of ten years.

Due-diligence checks are undertaken before any payments are issued to businesses.  Digital tools such as Spotlight, Companies House, and the National Fraud Initiative will also be used. 

The Bank Account Verification Tool is used as part of the Government’s Counter Fraud function, which works in partnership with Experian. This allows local authorities to:

  1. Verify the bank accounts of companies in receipt of these business grants; and
  2. Provide insight into whether the company was trading at the relevant date for these grants.

This tool will be used for registered companies and unregistered companies such as sole traders.

Applicants are advised that data provided in the application may be shared with Government Department BEIS. Please read the BEIS privacy notice which sets out how BEIS will handle personal data across all COVID-19 business grant schemes.

Additional information

Grant income received by a business is taxable. The Additional Restrictions Grant will need to be included as income in the tax return of the business. Only businesses which make an overall profit once grant income is included will be subject to tax. Unincorporated businesses will be taxed when they receive the grant income.

Small Amount of Financial Assistance Allowance

Grants may be paid in accordance with Article 364(4) of the Trade and cooperation Agreement (TCA) with the EU.  This enables an applicant to receive up to a maximum level of subsidy without engaging Chapter 3 of the TCA. This allowance is up to 325,000 Special Drawing Rights, to a single economic actor over a rolling period of three fiscal years (the “Relevant Period”), which is the equivalent of £335,000 as of 2 March 2021.

When calculating the amount of subsidy an applicant has received under Article 364(4) of the TCA in a Relevant Period, a local authority will have regard to any subsidy given under Article 364(4) and any subsidy given under Commission Regulation (EU) No 1407/2013 (the De Minimis Regulation). An applicant may elect not to receive grants under the Small Amounts of Financial Assistance Allowance and instead receive grants only using the below allowances available under this scheme.

There are three subsidy allowances for the COVID-19 Business Grant Schemes set out below: Small Amounts of Financial Assistance Allowance, the COVID-19 Business Grant Allowance, and the COVID-19 Business Grant Special Allowance. 

Right to update this guidance note

The Council reserves the right to update and change this document or any operational policies that affect ARG3 without notification or warning in the event that the government updates or changes its guidance to us or in the event of an error or omission.

Appeals

This grant scheme is not intended to cover all businesses that have been impacted by the Omicron variant. There is no right to appeal, and the decision of the Council is final. The Council’s interpretation of this document is at its own discretion, and it will be the final arbiter of the definitions contained within this document.

Privacy Policy and the Terms and Conditions

Before you complete the application form, please read the Terms and Conditions and Privacy Notice.

Liverpool City Council reserves the right to vary the terms of the ARG3 scheme or suspend or close the scheme with immediate effect, without notice and at any time.