The Additional Restrictions Grant (ARG) is a financial support package funded by central government to provide support to businesses adversely affected as a result of the national lockdown and tier system restrictions.
The fund is limited but will be used to support as many local businesses as possible which make a major contribution to the Fylde economy. The fund was initially a single allocation based on £20 per head of population (ONS 2019 Mid-Year Population Estimates) for each local authority to operate a discretionary grant scheme. Since the initial investment from central government, additional top-up funding has been provided on the same population-proportionate basis.
Local Authorities have the discretion to determine precise eligibility criteria for the ARG grant scheme, subject to cross-cutting conditions that apply to all grant schemes, and are responsible for administering grants in response to local restrictions.
Given the limited budget available (which is significantly less than the previous lockdown allocation) the Council has needed to prioritise the businesses to support and the level of grant provided. It is recognised that not all businesses will benefit and even those that do may be disappointed with the level of support the Council is able to offer.
Additional support will be targeted at businesses that are a priority for the Fylde economy, which include; hospitality, leisure, and accommodation sectors. This is consistent with the guidance provided by the government when allocating the grant. Small and medium sized businesses, often independently owned, in these sectors have been severely impacted by the nature of the restrictions on travel, social mixing, in-person services, and the premise controls in businesses that cannot deliver their services online.
The objective of the ARG allocation scheme is:
- To offer financial assistance to a priority range of businesses operating in the hospitality, leisure, and accommodation sectors that have been severely impacted by COVID related local or national restrictions;
- To provide strategic financial assistance to larger businesses critical to the economic recovery of the Fylde economy in 2021; and
- To communicate advice and support (financial and non-financial) to all businesses affected by COVID-related trading restrictions.
Fylde has come up with several schemes to achieve the objective to support as many local businesses as possible.
ARG Vacant Premises Grant
The Additional Restrictions Grant (ARG) Vacant Premises Grant has been established to provide support to start-up costs for small local businesses who take on vacant premises between 1 March 2021 and 31 March 2022 (subject to availability of grant funding). This grant scheme is intended to stimulate new business in the town centres of St Annes, Lytham and Kirkham that will encourage footfall to the area. The grant will support new businesses with a contribution towards the initial investment for shop fitting and set-ups costs.
ARG Discretionary Award Scheme
This is a local discretionary grants scheme similar to the discretionary scheme administered on behalf of the government as part of the business support measures during the initial lockdown from March to June 2020. This element of the ARG allocations is aimed at businesses that do not have business rate accounts or are not in the economic sectors that make them eligible for other grants.
This scheme is now closed as per the advertised deadline. If additional funds are made available to the ARG, the discretionary scheme may re-open and details will be published on this page.
Those businesses who have already received an ARG Discretionary Scheme award should note that any additional awards would only be made based on the availability of funds not on the length of covid-related restrictions. If additional funds are made available to this particular scheme, a decision may be made to make a further award to eligible businesses but this is not guaranteed and should not be expected. You do not need to make further contact with the Council, we have your details and if a further award becomes available then businesses in the scheme will be notified and automatic payments issued.
ARG Licenced Drivers Scheme
This was a targeted scheme for taxi drivers licenced with Fylde Council. The impact from reduced tourism footfall across the Fylde coast has adversely affected licenced drivers that have had limited or no other means of support from other local or national schemes. The scheme was open to drivers with a valid licence from Fylde Council on 16 October 2020 and drivers were contacted directly about how to claim the award. The scheme has now closed as per the advertised deadline of 4pm Friday 22 January 2021. Payments are currently being processed and if you have submitted a successful application you can expect to receive a payment by 5 February 2021.
ARG Closed Premises Supplementary Scheme
Following the second National Lockdown between 5 November and 2 December 2020, a number of premises in the hospitality and accommodation sector were required to remain closed from 2nd to 30th December as a result of Lancashire being subject to Tier 3 restrictions. This closure came at a time when these same businesses would have been experiencing their busiest trading period of the year, in the build up to Christmas and New Year, increasing the financial impact of the closure restrictions. In response to this an additional supplementary award was made from the ARG fund for businesses in the hospitality and accommodation sectors whose premises were required to remain closed during that period. The businesses that received an additional supplementary award were contacted directly to notify them of the award that was made alongside the government closure grant. An application to the existing LRSG (Closed) scheme to be made before 24th December was part of the eligibility criteria for this grant, and funds assigned for this scheme have now been exhausted and the scheme is now closed.
ARG supplementary allocations are made at the discretion of the local authority based on the funding that is available, if further supplementary payments are possible within the available funding then details will be published on this page.
ARG Exceptions Scheme
This scheme has been created to address exceptional circumstances in local businesses that have been unable to secure any, or enough, support from other grant schemes (including other elements of the ARG). The council is looking to support priority businesses in the local economy and where evidence of significant and exceptional or unique circumstances that place the business at risk as a result of local or national restrictions is provided an assessment will be considered.
The ARG allocation scheme will be reviewed on a regular basis, with consideration to the continually reviewed national and local restrictions and dependent on the funds remaining after the current schemes have been implemented. All of the grant will be used to support the local economy in Fylde.
Do the rules about subsidies apply?
The Brexit transition period has ended and new rules on subsidy control now apply. The ARG Exceptions Scheme is a subsidy. If a receiving a grant may mean that your business (or any group of which it forms part) has had £1,950,000 or more in subsidies in the last three years, we will need to ask you for more information and you are invited to contact us directly regarding your business. You can read more on the rules about subsidies here.