The Restart Grant Scheme was announced by the Chancellor of the Exchequer, Rishi Sunak, on Wednesday 3rd March in the UK Budget. The Restart Grant was in correlation with a set of packages, grants and loans to help people and businesses through the pandemic as well as easing them through the transition of reopening as lockdown comes to an end. The Restart Grant is specifically intended for businesses in the sectors of retail, hospitality, accommodation, leisure and personal care.
The Restart Grant scheme will replace the Local Restrictions Support Grant which will close at the end of March 2021. This grant accumulates to £5bn of funding available from the government, providing up to a maximum of £18,000 for business and will be open for applications as of April 2021. Mr Sunak was quoted in the Financial Times as saying, “Our local businesses have been hit hard by the pandemic, which is why we went big and went early with a multi-billion-pound package of support. There’s now light at the end of the tunnel and this £5bn of extra cash grants will ensure businesses on our high street can open their doors with optimism.”
What Is The Restart Grant & The Additional Restrictions Grant?
The Restart Grant is one of the main set of packages introduced by the government to aid businesses and shops, helping to get the economy back on track to pre-COVID levels. This grant is planned to help sectors which have seen a huge hit in profitability during the pandemic, including the retail, hospitality, accommodation, leisure and personal care industries.
Shops, gyms and businesses that plan to reopen on April 12th, in line with government guidance and roadmap, will be able to apply for a grant of up to £6000. Businesses in the hospitality, accommodation and leisure sectors, who will reopen later and therefore are more affected by lockdown restrictions, will be able to claim up to £18,000 (depending on rateable value).
As well as this, the Additional Restrictions Grant was also announced by the Chancellor, which is intended for businesses which aren’t eligible for a Restart Grant. The Additional Restrictions Grant will be given to local authorities across the UK and it is up to their discretion to determine whether local businesses have experienced a severe impact from COVID-19. This funding is worth a total of £425 million and will be able to be applied for through local council websites.
Who Will The Restart Grant Scheme Affect?
In order to apply for the Restart Grant Scheme, as stated previously, your business will need to be deemed under the retail, hospitality, accommodation, leisure and personal care sectors.
This equates to 230,000 hospitality, accommodation, leisure, gym and personal care businesses, as well as 450,000 non-essential retail business premises in England who will be eligible to apply for the grant. It is estimated nearly 700,000 small business owners including pubs, clubs, hotels, restaurants and hair salons are in line to benefit from the scheme.
According to government guidance, your business may be eligible if it:
- Is based in England
- Occupies property on which it pays business rates (and is the ratepayer)
- Has been required to close because of the national lockdown from 5 January 2021 onwards, or between 5 November and 2 December 2020
- Has been unable to provide its usual in-person customer service from its premises
Your business will be unable to get funding if:
- You can continue to operate during the lockdown period because you do not depend on providing direct in-person services from your premises (for example accountants)
- You have chosen to close, but have not been required to close as part of national restrictions
- Your business is in administration, insolvent or has been struck off the Companies House register
- You have exceeded the permitted subsidy limit
To summarise, the Restart Grant will be made available to hospitality businesses who re-open their business in outdoor areas from mid-April, subject to them being ratepayers.
Why Are The Government Introducing The Restart Grant Scheme?
As mentioned, the government have introduced the Restart Grant Scheme, as well as a range of other loan and grant packages, in the wake of the current COVID-19 pandemic. Over the past 12 months more than 700,000 people have lost their jobs, whilst the average small business has lost over £11,000 in revenue due to restrictions.
It is the government and the nation’s hope that some form of ‘normality’ in a business sense will ensue once lockdown is gradually lifted over the coming months. This will then take the total of government funding cash support for businesses to £25bn since the start of the Coronavirus pandemic.
How Can I Apply For The Restart Grant?
As of yet, there is no government portal or webpage to start your Restart Grant application, however this is expected to be released in early April 2021.
We hope this has outlined to you exactly what the Restart Grant scheme is and whether your business can apply for it. If you require any more information on any government COVID-19 loans and grants, or anything accounting related for that matter, please don’t hesitate to get in contact with us at Nordens where one of our trusted advisors would be happy talking you through your query.