Decision details

Additional Items of Business

Decision status: Recommendations Approved

Is Key decision?: No

Is subject to call in?: No

Purpose:

            Business Rates Covid Additional Relief Fund

            Approval was sought for Sandwell’s policy to administer the Business Rates Covid Additional Relief Fund (CARF) arising from new regulations introduced through the Government’s Department for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities.

 

Reasons for Decision

In late December 2021, the Government, through the Department for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities introduced new financial support for businesses called CARF. The policy would ensure businesses receive the financial support they were entitled to, the Council intended to make the CARF scheme as simple as possible and make the awards without the need for businesses to apply. This would ensure the financial support would be paid to businesses a lot quicker than via an application process. Furthermore, in view of the tight deadlines to expend the grant funding, a decision was required urgently.

 

Alternative Options

As an alternative to the direct award of CARF, an application process would be implemented which would enable those businesses who feel theymight qualify for the relief to apply via an online form.

 

This would delay getting the financial support out to the businesses whorequire this financial support, and the potential for businesses to missout on the support by not applying. An application process would also take up a lot of staff resource tomanage due to the potential number of applications we may receive andthe limited resource we have available to us.

 

APPROVED

 

            Additional Restrictions Grant 3

            Approval was sought for Sandwell’s policy to administer the Additional Restrictions Grant 3 (ARG 3) arising from 21 December 2021 announcement from Government to the introduction of grant support for hospitality and leisure businesses in England.

 

            Reasons for Decision

            On 21 December 2021, the Government announced that a further £102 million would be made available for Local Authorities, through a top-up to the Additional Restrictions Grant. All funding must be spent by the 31 March 2022 and as such, the way in which the council utilised this funding must be aligned to available resources; the council’s decision-making processes; and procurement regulations. Flexibility would also be required to enable the council to respond to any changing circumstances over the grant period and therefore this was the reason for the urgent decision.

 

Alternative Options

As the government had expressed their preferences on this funding there is minimal scope for alternative options, however one alternative would be to increase both grant sizes by £500; to £2500 and £5500 respectively. However, this would result in less grants being available overall and fewer local businesses would also benefit as a result.

 

APPROVED

 

 

Publication date: 12/01/2022

Date of decision: 12/01/2022

Decided at meeting: 12/01/2022 - Cabinet

Accompanying Documents: