The purpose of the report is to seek approval to amend and expand the criteria of the Additional Restrictions Grant Scheme approved on 13th November 2020 and amended on 8th January 2021.
Members were advised that in Paragraph 5 of the report the reference to 2010 should read 2020.
An amendment was considered to the delegation in Paragraph 2 (f) of the report.
Reason for Decision.
In line with government’s expectations Burnley Council approved a discretionary Additional Restrictions grant scheme on the 14 November 2020 to help those businesses which are severely impacted by the restrictions put in place to control the spread of Covid-19 but are not eligible for either LRSG (closed) or LRSG (Open). The scheme was amended on 8 January 2021 to reflect the on-going restrictions and national restrictions introduced on the 31 December 2020 and 4 January 2021 respectively.
In setting the criteria the Council sought to cover as many businesses as possible and set out a scheme that was fair and proportionate to the size and scale of businesses affected. In line with the national guidance the scheme cannot be used solely for salary costs and businesses must be able to demonstrate some on-going business overheads. As the national lockdown has been extended it has become clear that a wider range of businesses and organisations are being affected that are not eligible under the scheme or are experiencing greater hardship as a result of the extended national restrictions period. Various changes and recommendations are set out in this report to reflect this
The Night Club top up reflects the fact that they have had to remain closed since March 2010 but have not received the same level of government support as wet pubs. The prolonged closure is having a disproportionate impact on the sector.
The proposed grant closure date will enable the Council to take stock of the scheme taking into consideration funds available and the roadmap for re-opening expected to be announced in mid-February. Applications already approved and eligible applications received by the closing date will receive payments under the current criteria. The scheme or a revised scheme may re-open for further applicationssubject to resources and following the review.
In order to be flexible to further changes in restrictions and to individual specific business circumstances it is recommended that authority is delegated to Strategic Head of Economy and Growth and Head of Finance and Property in consultation with the Executive Member for Economy and Growth.
(1) That the amended eligibility criteria and grant rates as set out in Appendix 1 be approved;
(2) That a one off top up grant for Nightclub businesses as set out in paragraph 13 be approved;
(3) That an amendment to criteria for the Hardship Grant scheme set out in paragraph 15 be approved;
(4) That a grant application closure date of Friday 26th February 2021 be authorised;
(5) That delegated authority be given to the Strategic Head of Economy and Growth and Head of Finance and Property to determine grant applications up to £3000/28 day period that fall outside of the ARG scheme but where there is a clear justification, in consultation with Exec Member for Economy and Growth; and
(6) As amended, that delegated authority be given to the Strategic Head of Economy and Growth in consultation with the Exec Member for Economy and Growth to agree future changes to the ARG criteria which are not key decisions.
The decision is an urgent key decision, and in order to enable the Council to respond quickly to support businesses affected by the Covid 19 pandemic, is not subject to call-in in accordance with Part 4.5 of the constitution.