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Covid Additional Relief Fund (CARF)

The government has provided additional funding to help businesses that did not qualify for any previous relief schemes, and have been adversely affected by Covid-19. The funding available is limited and once allocated, no more awards will be made.

The funding will be applied directly to your business rates account for the rating year 2021/22 only. If the account has already been paid, a refund will be sent or the amount will be allocated to another rating year if applicable.

The closing date for applications is 15th September 2022.

Eligible businesses

If your business was not eligible or did not receive previous reliefs, and you can evidence how your business has been affected by the pandemic, you can apply for CARF unless your business falls under any of the categories below.

Who cannot apply

You cannot apply for CARF if you were eligible for the Extended Retail Discount (retail, hospitality and leisure), Nursery Discount or Airport and Ground Operations Support Scheme (AGOSS).

In addition, the following businesses will not be considered for an award:

  • Business properties which do not directly employ anyone.
  • Any business which cannot demonstrate that it has been significantly impacted by the pandemic.
  • Businesses associated with gambling, such as casinos and betting shops.
  • Business premises which are used for personal use or storage only and is not considered to be trading.
  • Banking and other financial institutions.
  • Businesses which are predominantly online sales.
  • Businesses which only supply storage facilities, such as warehouses.
  • Businesses used for assembly and leisure.
  • Shops, restaurants, cafes, drinking establishments, cinemas and live music venues
  • Hotels, guest and boarding premises and self-catering accommodation

Does subsidy allowance apply?

The CARF scheme is subject to the subsidies chapter within the UK-EU Trade and Cooperation Agreement (TCA). However, for CARF there is an exemption for subsidies under the value of approximately £2,243,000 per economic actor (broadly speaking, for example, a holding company and its subsidiaries). This allowance comprises 325,000 Special Drawing Rights (at current exchange rates about £343,000) for Small Amounts of Financial Assistance and a further £1,900,000 for COVID-19 related subsidy.

Therefore, to be awarded CARF you must not have claimed over the period 2019/20 to 2021/22 more than £2,243,000 from schemes which fell within the Small Amounts of Financial Assistance or COVID-19 related allowances.

COVID-19 business grants you have received from local government and the 2019/20 Retail Relief should count towards this limit, but you should not count any Extended Retail Discount you have received since 1 April 2020. You can view further details of subsidy control on the GOV.UK website.

You must not apply for CARF if you have already exceeded the £2,243,000 allowance. However, we will still consider applications for support under the CARF scheme if you have reached this limit provided you can evidence that you:

  • intend to use the support to fund uncovered fixed costs (costs not covered by profits for insurance etc) during the period of COVID-19. Economic actors may claim for up to 70% of their uncovered costs (although this 70% limit does not apply to small businesses with less than 50 employees and less than £9 million turnover where the limit is instead 90%).
  • have shown a decline in turnover of at least 30% within the April 2020 to March 2021 period, compared to the same 2019 to 2020 period.

You may claim up to a further £10 million of additional allowance (on top of the £2,243,000) if you meet the above tests and you have not claimed any other support from the additional allowance up to an aggregate £10 million limit (such as from the COVID-19 business grants).

The Government and Liverpool City Council will not tolerate any business falsifying their records or providing false evidence to gain this discount, including claiming support above these thresholds. A ratepayer who falsely applies for any relief, or provides false information or makes false representation in order to gain relief may be guilty of fraud under the Fraud Act 2006.

How much is the award?

The award amount is based on the rateable value of the trading property:

  • £51,000 or below Up to 100% of net liability after the application of all other reliefs
  • £51,001 to £100,000 Up to 50% of the net value outstanding after the application of all other reliefs
  • Above £100,000 Up to 50% of the net value outstanding after the application of all other reliefs to a maximum of £50,000

The above maximum relief values may be amended depending on the number of eligible applications we receive and the remaining funds available.

How to apply

You can apply online below for the Covid Additional Relief Fund (CARF). The closing date for applications with supporting evidence is 15th September 2022. We recommend that you submit your application as soon as possible to ensure you are considered for this relief award.

Before you begin, please make sure you have evidence of how your business has been adversely impacted as you will need to upload these with your application. For example:

  • Accounts showing your turnover was reduced
  • Bank statements showing your business activity before and after the pandemic

These can be scanned images or photos, but must clearly show the business name and account number.

You may also want to include further evidence, such as lost orders and contracts, lost revenue, significant additional costs and cashflow problems.

What happens next?

We will review your application and let you know if you are entitled to the relief. All applications will be subject to pre-payment checks to validate all information provided. Completed applications will be processed within 14 days of receipt and we will send an amended business rates bill showing the allocation of the award to your account. If your account is in credit after the relief has been applied we will aim to refund any credit within a further 7 days.

This process will involve us sharing your application data with a third-party agency for verification of entitlement.