Decision Maker: Cabinet
Decision status: For Determination
Is Key decision?: Yes
Is subject to call in?: No
The purpose of this policy is to determine the
level of discretionary funding payable to local businesses under
the Council's Covid-19 Additional Relief Fund (CARF) scheme.
Central government has provided South Lakeland with funding of
£2.1 million to assist those ratepayers whos businesses have,
and continue to be affected by the pandemic, but who been ineligble
for existing support associated with business rates
Please note - this item was on the Forward Plan in May 2022 (31 May 2022). This item was not included in the agenda for the 04 July 2022 Cabinet meeting which was initially published on Friday 24 June 2022. Copies of the revised agenda and report relating to the item for consideration at the meeting, were available for inspection by the public in accordance with Regulation 7 (Access to agenda and connected reports for public meetings) of the 2012 Regulations”
Following a request from the Legal, Governance and Democracy Lead Specialist (Monitoring Officer), Members unanimously agreed that the item should be considered at the meeting.
The Finance and Assets Portfolio Holder presented a report regarding the Covid-19 Additional Relief Fund (Discretionary Non Domestic Rate Relief). The report set out proposals which would allow the Council to administer the discretionary Covid-19 Additional Relief Fund (“CARF”) and make grants to eligible businesses in line with section 47 of the Local Government Finance Act 1988 and in accordance with Government Guidance.
The fund had been made available by central government to grant relief on 2021/22 Non Domestic Rates liabilities to assist those businesses that were affected by the pandemic but were ineligible for other grants under the previous schemes. The report noted that the Council had been awarded £2,109,829 in funding for grants of relief in the district with Councils being reimbursed up to the allocated level of discretionary relief awarded.
Government guidance specified that the businesses that had been eligible for the Extended Retail Discount, the Nursery Discount or the Airport and Ground Operations Support Scheme were excluded from the scheme along with any Councils (town/parish or county councils).
Members thanked officers for their time and hard work in supporting local businesses and supported the proposals set out in the report.
RESOLVED - That
(1) Subject to Council approval, the Covid-19 Additional Relief Fund Discretionary Non Domestic Rate Relief (CARF) scheme be approved as attached in Appendix 1 for implementation by the Council;
(2) Authority be delegated to the Operational Lead for People, Welfare and Income Maximisation the authority to make the final decision on the award of the CARF Scheme under Section 47 of the Local Government Finance Act 1988;
(3) Authority be delegated to the Director of Customer and Commercial Services to determine any requests for reviews of decisions taken under the CARF Scheme and that the Finance Lead Specialist (Section 151 Officer) be delegated the authority to determine any requests for review of decisions of the Director of Customer and Commercial Services under the CARF scheme for a final determination; and
(4) Authority be delegated to the Operational Lead for People, Welfare and Income Maximisation in consultation with the for Finance Lead Specialist (Section 151 Officer) and the Finance and Assets Portfolio Holder to make any administrative amendments required to the CARF schemes to reflect future changes in Government guidance or change in local need.
Reasons for Decision
The proposal links to the Council Plan Priorities of:-
· Working across boundaries;
· Delivering a balanced community; and
· A fairer South Lakeland.
Alternative Options Considered and Rejected
SLDC could choose not to use the discretionary relief provision which would not comply with the Government request and would not give the intended support to those businesses in the district that were impacted by the pandemic but ineligible under earlier Covid-19 relief schemes. This is therefore not a recommended option.
SLDC could chose to administer grants at a level exceeding the government allocation which would not be reimbursed and is therefore not affordable for the Council and also not a recommended option. Monitoring of levels of award will be undertaken to ensure that the Council will be fully reimbursed for grants awarded.
Report author: Amanda Foley
Publication date: 12/08/2022
Date of decision: 04/07/2022
Decided at meeting: 04/07/2022 - Cabinet