COVID-19 Additional Relief Fund (CARF)

The Government recently announced a new COVID-19 Additional Relief Fund (CARF) of £1.5 billion which has been distributed to Local Authorities to administer a discretionary relief for Business Rates.

The aim of this scheme is to provide Business Rates relief for the financial year 2021/2022 to businesses who have been adversely affected by the pandemic and are ineligible for existing support linked to business rates.

Basic principles

Within the government guidance they have set basic principles for the scheme which must be followed:

  • it can only be awarded in respect of business rate liability for 2021/2022
  • it cannot be awarded for periods where the premises are classed as empty
  • it cannot be applied to business premises already in receipt of, or potentially entitled to Extended Retail Discount
  • it cannot be awarded where 100% in total relief is already being claimed. For example businesses in receipt of 100% small business rates relief will not be eligible
  • it cannot be awarded to public sector organisations
  • it cannot be awarded to businesses that are beneficiaries of public funds equal to, or in excess of subsidy limits within the UK-EU Trade and Cooperation Agreement (TCA) or will exceed those limits if a CARF relief is awarded.

Telford and Wrekin local criteria

Alongside the basic principles detailed above, the following local criteria applies:

  • businesses must have been trading and registered for business rates at their premises within the Borough of Telford and Wrekin on the 1 April 2021
  • the business continues to trade from the same premises within the borough of Telford & Wrekin Council.

Subsidy allowance

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.

To be awarded CARF you must not have claimed over the period 2019/2020 to 2021/2022 more than £2,243,000 from schemes that 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.

Visit the GOV.UK website to read more on Subsidy Allowance limits 

Award of relief

All awards of this relief will be by a reduction of the business rates bill for the 2021/2022 financial year.

No cash payments will be made.

If a business has already paid their business rates liability in full for 2021/2022, any credit will carried forward to their 2022/2023 business rates liability.  

Application process

Eligible ratepayers will be identified by the Council and awards will be made automatically. There will be no requirement for an application form to be submitted. 

Last updated: 22/02/2022 11:29