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COVID-19 Additional Relief Fund (CARF)

On 25 March 2021 the government announced a new COVID-19 Additional Relief Fund (CARF) of £1.5 billion to support those business rate payers affected by the pandemic but that are ineligible for existing support linked to business rates.

On 15 December 2021 the government published guidance on the operation of the fund and details of the funding allocation for each local authority

Each council is responsible for designing the discretionary relief scheme that will operate in their area.  Awards can only be made to reduce the chargeable business rates in 2021/22 and the government has made clear that the following will not be eligible for the Covid-19 Additional Relief Fund (CARF):

  • ratepayers who for the same period of the relief either are or would have been eligible for the Extended Retail Discount (covering Retail, Hospitality and Leisure), the Nursery Discount or the Airport and Ground Operations Support Scheme (AGOSS)
  • for a period when a property is unoccupied (other than property which has become closed temporarily due to the government’s advice on COVID-19, which should be treated as occupied for the purposes of this relief)

Awards are likely to amount to a subsidy allowance and therefore any relief provided under this scheme will need to comply with the UK’s domestic and international subsidy control obligations. 

There is no need for businesses to apply for this relief as the council has identified those businesses it will be supporting and relief will be awarded through business rates accounts via our business rates systems. Revised bills will then be issued showing the amount of relief awarded. 

Eligibility

This relief is payable in the 2021-22 financial year only.

Businesses must not have been eligible for existing business rates relief schemes, are deemed to have been adversely affected by the pandemic and have been unable to adequately adapt to that impact.

Businesses that have received Expanded Retail Relief or Nursery Discount or those which are unoccupied in 2021-22 are ineligible for CARF. 

Reliefs will be awarded after mandatory and other discretionary reliefs have been applied.

Wyre Forest District Council have decided to support businesses in the following sectors:

  • Bus garages
  • Car parks (excluding council owned)
  • Factories
  • Marina
  • Offices not included in other business categories
  • Warehouses
  • Workshops

To calculate the relief to be awarded, we have divided the £1.8m funding available by the total liability of the eligible accounts.  This determines the percentage relief each account will receive which will be equal to 24% of their net Business Rates liability irrespective of their rateable value.

Businesses that are not eligible include the following.  Please note this list is not exhaustive:

  • Financial, insurance and legal services
  • Doctors, dentists and surgeries including vets
  • Schools and education establishments
  • Land or premises used for storage
  • Vehicle repair workshops and testing stations
  • Sales offices, estate agents and showrooms

Please see full CARF policy for more information including the list of businesses that are not eligible

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