What is State Aid?

State Aid is aid from Central, Local or European Governments or bodies funded by them. There are limits to the amount of State Aid a business can receive in a 3-year rolling period.

State Aid rules apply to this grant. Examples of State Aid are:

  • grants
  • loans
  • tax breaks, including enhanced capital allowances
  • the use or sale of a state asset for free or at less than market price

It is the responsibility of businesses to understand their position in relation to State Aid. If you are unsure of your position you should take appropriate professional advice.

Eligibility

My business is still open. Can I apply?

Yes, the grant is available to eligible businesses that plan to continue operating.

My business has been told to close by the Government. Can I apply?

Yes, if you are meet all other grant eligibility criteria.

My business has ceased trading or has closed without being required to do so as part of Government and local restrictions. Can I apply?

No.

My business was counted as an “essential business” under previous Government COVID-19 regulations. Can I apply?

No, “essential businesses” are unlikely to have been negatively affected by Covid-19 restrictions. For example, supermarkets, takeaways, corner shops and off-licenses would be ineligible for support under this programme.

My business is part of the Hospitality and Leisure supply chain. Can I apply?

No, the grant is only available to customer-facing businesses that trades goods or services directly with the general public in the Liverpool City Region. Businesses who are only part of the supply chain to the Hospitality and Leisure sector are not eligible to apply.

How do I find out if I am eligible for the other Government Grant Schemes listed?

For details of Government Covid-19 business support visit Gov.uk

My business operates from more than 1 site. Do I apply for each site separately?

No, linked or group businesses should apply once but count all staff across all sites within the Local Authority boundary you are applying to.

My business operates premises in more than one Local Authority area. Do I apply for each Local Authority separately?

Yes, submit a separate application to the relevant Local Authority in which the premises are located. In your separate application to each Local Authority, you should only provide the number of FTE staff employed who work at premises within the local authority area you are applying to.

My business began trading on the 2nd October 2020. Can I apply?

No, the fund is for businesses trading on 1st October 2020.

I was fitting out a property prior to 1st October 2020 but never actually opened/started trading. Can I apply?

No, the fund is for businesses trading on 1st October 2020.

My business is or is about to be dissolved, dormant or insolvent. Can I apply?

No.

I am a sole trader/partnership but do not employ other staff, can I apply?

Yes, provided that you occupy commercial premises; and can evidence that you are a sole trader/partnership working 35 hours or more per week in the business and are registered with HMRC with a Unique Taxpayer Reference.

Premises costs

I occupy land rather than an actual building, for example, an industrial yard. Can I apply?

Yes, if you meet the other eligibility application criteria, are one of the eligible business types, and pay rates or have a commercial lease/mortgage for the site.

I pay business rates but own my business property so do not have a mortgage or pay rent. Can I apply?

Yes, if you meet all other eligibility criteria. Provide a copy of your 2020/21 Business Rates bill and a copy of the property Land Registry Title to show ownership of the business premises.

I am the owner of my business premises so don’t have a lease/licence or commercial mortgage and don’t pay business rates. Can I apply?

If you meet all other grant eligibility criteria you can apply for the employee element of the grant but will be ineligible for the property related payment. You will still need to provide a copy of the property Land Registry Title to show ownership of the business premises.

I work from home. Can I claim based on my domestic rent/mortgage costs?

No. The fund is for businesses with commercial fixed property costs.

I work from home. Can I claim non fixed property costs?

No. The fund is for businesses with commercial fixed property costs.

How do I send my supporting information to the council?

You can upload documents through the online application form. If additional information is required we will contact you.

What do I have to provide as evidence of loss of income?

A document that shows loss of income due to Covid-19. Examples of acceptable evidence:

  • comparative bank statements pre- and post- Covid-19 showing difference in income
  • turnover figures for September 2019 and September 2020
  • management accounts
  • evidence of cancelled/suspended bookings/events orders showing the amount lost
  • proof of loss of ongoing income or regular business income
  • number of staff on furlough

Your evidence should give an approximate value of lost income due to Covid-19.

What do I have to provide as evidence of the number of staff I employ?

A copy of your HMRC Real Time Information Return must be submitted for period ending 30th September 2020 showing your Employer PAYE reference number, also known as an Employer Reference Number (ERN), and the number of staff on PAYE payroll as of 30th September 2020 

If the payroll week does not fall exactly on 30th September 2020, your RTI Full Payment Submission (FPS) data for the period immediately before 30th September 2020, and no earlier than 31st July 2020, is acceptable.

If your HMRC Real Time Information Return does not show the name(s) and weekly hours worked of your employee(s), you will have to submit this information separately and if this is the case we will contact you to request that information.

If the information I have supplied is insufficient will I be contacted?

If the application is not accompanied by all necessary supporting evidence, the Council will email the applicant to advise that information is missing. The application will not be processed until this evidence is received. The onus is on the applicant to provide the evidence in a timely manner. If the applicant does not respond within 3 working days of the email from the Council your application will not be considered.

How will I be told if my application has been successful?

Successful applicants will be notified by email.

How will I be told if my application has been rejected?

Unsuccessful applicants will be notified by email. There is no right to appeal a decision.

How long will it take for my application to be processed?

We expect applications which have supplied full and correct information to be processed within 10 working days.

How is the grant paid?

The grant is paid by BACs payment. If you are applying for an incorporated company (for example a limited company) or registered charity, the bank account details must be in the name of the business/charity.

The first payment will be 100% of the property-based grant and 50% of the employee grant, followed by two monthly grants of 25% for the remaining employee grant.

Confirmation that the business is continuing to trade and of staff employed will be required before the 2nd & 3rd payments are made.

If I am awarded a grant, do I have to repay it?

No, the award is a grant, not a loan.

How long will these funds be available for?

The online application process will close at 5pm on 30th October 2020. However, there are limited funds available and applications will be assessed on a first-come, first-served basis. Your date of application will be the date that Wirral Council receives all supporting information to accompany your online form. Should there be remaining funds after the first ‘window’, a further ‘window’ may be opened but this is not guaranteed.