National lockdown: Stay at Home restrictions. More information.

Coronavirus business grants

We recognise that this is an incredibly challenging time for our business community. We are working as fast as we can to ensure that the financial support provided by the government reaches those businesses who are eligible. Please be aware, that due to the volume of businesses in Westminster, we are dealing with an unprecedented number of grant payments. We are prioritising the payment of these grants and this may have an impact on our speed of response to normal business rate enquiries. 

Applications for the first round of the Additional Restrictions Grants are now open

1. Grant eligibility

Which Support Grants is my business eligible for?

Eligibility for the Business Support grants is dependent on whether your business is a ratepayer (receives a business rate bill from the council) or a non-ratepayer (your business pays rent to your landlord which includes an element for business rates).

For Ratepayers

The government has introduced a significant number of different grant schemes since the commencement of the tiering structure and the eligibility criteria for each grant can be complicated.

To qualify for one or more of the potential grants a business must meet the eligibility criteria for the lockdown grant that was introduced for the November National Lockdown.

The council has already sent application forms to all businesses that could potentially qualify for the November National Lockdown grant. It is essential that this form is completed and returned as soon as possible. If you are a hospitality, hotel, bed and breakfast, leisure business or a non-essential retail business and you have not received an application form for the November National Lockdown grant, please email the council at westminster.nndr@secure.capita.co.uk. Please include the word “Grant” and your business rate customer account number in the subject line of the email.

Hospitality businesses are eligible for grants even if they have been offering takeaway and/or delivery services while closed. Hotels and bed & breakfasts may also still submit a claim if they have been offering accommodation to essential business travellers.

The data within the form will not only be used to calculate and pay the November National lockdown grant, but also other grants that a business may be eligible for. This would include other grants including the new one-off top-up payment of up to £9,000 announced by the Chancellor on Tuesday 5 January 2021.

The council will continue to pay the November National Lockdown grant on receipt of valid applications. The calculation and payment of the other grants will commence once central government has sent local authorities the guidance and funding allocations for the new grants announced by the Chancellor. This guidance is expected by 15 January.

It is essential that your business completes and returns the full application form for the November National Lockdown grant as soon as possible along with the proof of bank details as requested. This will help ensure you can access your full grant entitlement.

Wet-led pubs, nightclubs and sexual entertainment businesses must also complete and return the sector specific application forms that we have sent to potentially eligible businesses.

For Non-ratepayers

The only grant available within the council for non-ratepayers is the Additional Restrictions Grant (ARG).

Applications for first round of Additional Restrictions Grant are now open

Based on the very limited funds made available by central government, the eligibility criteria has been set to government guidance. The government has calculated our ARG funding allocation based on resident population rather than on the basis of the total number of businesses. We will continue to lobby central government to revise their method of calculation and it is hoped that the government will provide a fairer allocation within the additional funding for non-ratepayer announced by the Chancellor on 5 January. 

If we are successful in securing further ARG funding allocation, our eligibility criteria for the ARG scheme may change. If your business does not qualify under the current eligibility criteria, please continue to monitor the council’s website and sign up to the business newsletter for potential future changes to the council’s criteria.

2. Discretionary Grants

The government has allocated two pots of funding to be distributed to businesses at Local Authorities’ discretion.

1.Additional Restrictions Grant (ARG)

In November 2020, the Chancellor of the Exchequer announced additional discretionary funding for Local Authorities to distribute to businesses. The allocation for these funds from central government has been based on the number of residents within the Local Authority, not the number of businesses per borough and as such Westminster’s allocation is limited to only £5.2m. We will continue to lobby central government to revise their method of calculation and it is hoped that the government will provide a fairer allocation within the additional funding for non-ratepayer announced by the Chancellor on 5 January. 

The focus of this grant scheme is for businesses who have not yet benefited from any grant support previously in the sectors outlined in the eligibility criteria section below.

Westminster’s ARG Scheme

There will be a maximum of 2600 grant awards available through this scheme based on one award of £2000 per business, rather than per business premises. The scheme will be administered by the council’s Business Unit through 3 rounds of applications.

Number of available grants per round: 

  • Round 1: 867 
  • Round 2: 867 
  • Round 3: 866 

Due to the limited funding available to the council, awards will be made on a first come first served basis to eligible businesses that provide valid completed application forms together with all of the requested documentary evidence. Each application round will close upon receipt of the specified number of valid applications for that round as above. 

Businesses who fail to submit all of the relevant documentary evidence within 7 days of the closure of the round will have their applications discontinued and they will have to re-apply when the next round opens. 

The first round is open for applications from 14th January 2021 – 31st January 2021, or once the round allocation is exhausted. We highlight that awards will be made on a first come first served basis. The round will close upon the maximum number of eligible, complete applications being met. Dates of further rounds will be updated on the website and in our business e-newsletter in due course. Sign up to our business e-newsletter.

Eligibility Criteria 

Following cabinet member direction, the council has determined that the following businesses will be eligible to apply for a grant: 

  • Non-ratepayers in non-essential retail, leisure, personal care, sports facilities and hospitality business (including, hotel and bed and breakfast accommodation and leisure businesses) which are effectively forced to close or have been severely impacted by the restrictions and have not previously received a Discretionary Grant Fund award from the council
  • Ratepayer or Non-Ratepayer businesses that supply (first tier) the retail, hospitality and leisure sectors and that have not received any other business grants from the council
  • Ratepayer or Non-Ratepayer businesses in the events sector that have not received any other business grants from the council

Please only submit an application if you believe your business falls under one of the three listed business categories.

What You Will Need to Apply 

In total, the process will involve the completion of 2 forms, an initial pre-screening form and a full application form. Upon successful completion of the two forms businesses will then be required to submit supporting documentation via email for audit and compliance purposes.

Beyond standard details, we recommend having the following information to hand in order to help you complete the forms:

  • trading/registered Address 
  • Company Registration Number / Charity Number (if applicable) 
  • Unique Tax Reference Number (if applicable) 
  • links to online presence (if applicable) 
  • information regarding the pandemic’s impact on the business (e.g. estimated percentage drop in sales) 
  • Business Rates Account Number (if applicable) 
  • bank details for the payment of a grant 

Application Process 

Apply for the council’s Additional Restrictions Grant Scheme 

Following successful completion of the pre-screening form, businesses will be sent the full application form and subsequent requests and instructions. Please ensure that your businesses monitors the email inbox they used to apply for further direction.

Contact Us 

In the event that you encounter any issues with the application process, please contact the Westminster Business Unit: 

2. Localised Restriction Support Grant: Open

The second discretionary funding envelope is for businesses that have been severely impacted while in Tier 2 and Tier 3. 

The council has determined that this discretionary fund will be used to provide additional support to hospitality, hotel, bed & breakfast and leisure ratepayer businesses that have been severely impacted by the restrictions (this will not include businesses that have been mandated to close by government regulations in Tier 2 or Tier 3, as these businesses will be addressed via the government’s mandatory LRSG (closed) grant. 

The payments under this scheme will be made without the need for a further application process (as the data required by the council to administer the scheme will be within each business’ November national lockdown application form. Therefore, as a reminder, it is important that the National Lockdown forms are returned to the council as soon as possible. 

The value of the grant payments will be determined after the majority of the national lockdown grants have been processed. For example, when the council can estimate the number of businesses that will qualify under the eligibility criteria. 

3. Lockdown Grants 2021

The Chancellor, Rishi Sunak, announced on Tuesday 5 January 2021 a range of further support for businesses including one-off top up grants for retail, hospitality and leisure businesses worth up to £9,000 per property and a £594 million discretionary fund for Local Authorities to support other impacted businesses. Further details can be found at GOV.UK.

We are awaiting further guidance from the government on these new schemes and there is no need to contact us. We recognise that this is an incredibly challenging time for our business community and are working as fast as we can to ensure that the financial support provided by the government reaches businesses who are eligible. We will update this page as more information becomes available.  

It is likely that the grant will be paid on the basis of the form returned for the November Lockdown grant, so again, please do return the form as soon as possible, or if you are a hospitality, hotel, bed & breakfast, leisure business or a non-essential retail business and you have not received an application form for the November National Lockdown grant, please email: westminster.nndr@secure.capita.co.uk. Please include the word “Grant” and your business rate customer account number in the subject line of the email.

4. Localised Restriction Support Grants

The guidance below refers to schemes to support businesses during the November to December 2020 national lockdown and periods of local restrictions. The government initially asked local authorities to administer two non-discretionary grant schemes.

1. Non-discretionary “National Lockdown” Grant (Localised Restriction Support Grant: Closed - Addendum)

All businesses (that are business rate payers) and that have been instructed to close by government regulations during the November National Lockdown are eligible. This includes non-essential retail, leisure, personal care, sports facilities and hospitality businesses.

The grant amounts dependent on rateable value range for the national lockdown period:

Rateable value of <15,001 £1,334
Rateable value 15,001 – 50,999 £2,000
Rateable value of > 50,999 £3,000

 

The council has the data it needs to identify potential eligible businesses and has sent letters to all relevant businesses. If you believe that your business is eligible for the grant and you have not received a letter please email: westminster.nndr@secure.capita.co.uk. Please include the word “Grant” and your business rate customer account number in the subject line of the email.

It is important that the forms sent to businesses are returned as soon as possible, not only so that we can make the grant payments, but also as the information on the forms will allow the council to subsequently provide other grant payments without the need for a further application process.

2. A non-discretionary grant for nightclubs and sexual entertainment venues (Localised Restriction Support Grant: Sector)

Nightclubs and sexual entertainment venues have been required to close since 23 March 2020. The government has asked local authorities to pay grants for the four day period (1 November 2020 to 4 November 2020) and subsequently after the November National Lockdown (during national lockdown the businesses was entitled to the above-mentioned November national lockdown grant).

The grant amounts dependant on rateable value range for “14 day” periods:

Rateable value of <15,001 £667
Rateable value 15,001 – 50,999 £1,000
Rateable value of > 50,999 £1,500

 

The council has the data it needs to identify potential eligible businesses and has sent letters to all relevant businesses. If you believe that your business is eligible for the grant and you have not received a letter please email: westminster.nndr@secure.capita.co.uk. Please include the word “Grant” and your business rate customer account number in the subject line of the email.

5. Christmas Support Payment for Wet-led Pubs

This is a one-off £1,000 grant that is available to pubs that would usually (for example, pre-pandemic) have more sales income from drink than from food. The council will be sending a letter and form to all pubs in the borough to determine eligibility in early 2021.

6. Local Restrictions Support Grant (Closed)

This is a grant that is available to all businesses that have been mandated to close by the government since entering Tier 3 on Saturday 16 December. It will also apply to those wet-led pubs that were forced to close in Tier 2.

It is planned that these grant payments will be made without the requirement for a further application process, as the necessary data will already be included in the “National Lockdown” form and, for pubs, within the Christmas Support Payment for wet-led pubs form. Therefore, as a reminder, it is important that these forms are returned to the council as soon as possible

Last updated: 14 January 2021