Christmas Support Payment for wet-led pubs

The Christmas Support Payment for wet-led pubs supports pubs that predominantly serve alcohol rather than provide food and have been severely impacted over the festive season due to temporary local restrictions.
 
A wet-led pub is defined as a pub that derives less than 50% of its income from sales of food.
 
Pubs that have kitchen facilities but are not currently serving food are eligible to receive a grant if they self-certify and provide evidence that they are wet-led.
 
Eligible businesses may be entitled to a one-off cash grant of £1,000 from their local council in areas under Tier 2 or Tier 3 local restrictions.
 
This grant scheme closes on 28 February 2021.
 
Businesses that are also in receipt of other Local Restriction Support Grants – for example LRSG (Closed) – can receive this grant. 

Eligibility Criteria 

For the purposes of this grant, eligible pubs should under normal circumstances (without local or national restrictions) be:
  • open to the general public, allowing free entry other than when occasional entertainment is provided
  • allow drinking without requiring food to be consumed
  • permit drinks to be purchased at a bar
  • registered as a ratepayer in respect of the property on 1 December 2020.
To qualify, a pub must:
  • be located within East Cambridgeshire 
  • have been trading on 30 November 2020 (or prior to when the recent local / national restrictions come into force);
  • meet the definition of a pub (see above);
  • derive less than 50% of its income from the sale of food;
  • not exceed state aid limits; and
  • not be in administration, insolvent or have a striking-off notice issued against it.
The definition of a pub excludes the following, and these types of businesses are not eligible for the scheme: restaurants, cafes, nightclubs, hotels, snack bars, guesthouses, boarding houses, sporting venues, music venues, festival sites, theatres, museums, exhibition halls, cinemas, concert halls and casinos.
As part of their application process for the scheme, all pubs are required to self-certify that they meet all eligibility criteria and provide accounting evidence that they derive under 50% of their income from food sales to determine that the pub is wet-led. These accounts should be dated no later than 11 March 2020 (covering a period when trade was not affected by Covid-19).

Evidence

Wet-led pubs applying for the Christmas Support Payment (CSP) will be required to make a statement that confirms their eligibility. This includes declaring that State Aid limits have not been exceeded.  The council places responsibility on the applicant to agree that their statement is correct to the best of their knowledge.
Businesses will need to provide evidence to support their statement of eligibility that the wet-led pub derives less than 50% of its income from sales of food, in the form of a set of accounts pre-dating 11 March 2020.  This must show a separate breakdown of the sales of food, beverages and any other income. 
These accounts should be dated no later than 11 March 2020 (covering a period when trade was not affected by Covid-19).

Exclusions

  • Pubs that derive over 50% of their income from food sales will not be eligible to receive funding through this grant scheme.
  • Businesses that have already received grant payments that equal the maximum levels of State aid permitted under the de minimis, the Covid-19 Temporary State Aid Framework, and all other UK schemes under the terms of the European Commission's Temporary Framework, will not be eligible to receive funding.
  • Businesses that are in administration, insolvent or where a striking-off notice has been made, are not eligible for funding under this scheme.
  • Restaurants, cafes, nightclubs, hotels, snack bars, guesthouses, boarding houses, sporting venues, music venues, festival sites, theatres, museums, exhibition halls, cinemas, concert halls and casinos.

Who are the grants payable to? 

The person who according to the billing authority’s records was the ratepayer in respect of the property on 1 December 2020.  
 
Where East Cambridgeshire District Council has reason to believe that the information held about the ratepayer on 1 December 2020 is inaccurate, the council may withhold or recover the grant and take reasonable steps to identify the correct ratepayer.   Any changes to the rating list (rateable value or to the hereditament) after 1 December 2020 will not be taken into account. 

State Aid

The Christmas Support Payment counts towards State Aid. Payments count towards the total de minimis State aid you’re allowed to get over a 3-year period - €200,000. If you have reached that threshold, you may still be eligible for funding under the COVID-19 Temporary Framework. The limit for the framework is €800,000. For more information about State Aid, please visit https://ec.europa.eu/competition/state_aid/what_is_new/covid_19.html 
If you proceed to make an application we will ask you to complete a declaration confirming that you will not exceed the relevant State aid threshold.
National businesses should check with their Head Office to ensure that this claim does not take the business over the limit.

Tax implications

Grant income received by a business is taxable. The Christmas Support Payment will need to be included as income in the tax return of the business.

Data protection and fraud detection

We are required by law to protect the public funds we administer. We may share information provided to us with other bodies responsible for auditing or administering public funds, or where undertaking a public function, in order to prevent and detect fraud. Further information can be found at: https://www.eastcambs.gov.uk/content/data-protection-policy-and-guidance 
 
The Council has a duty to prevent and investigate allegations of fraud and error. The Council participates in fraud initiatives, including the National Fraud Initiative. We will share information from the application form with the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy for statistical and grant assurance purposes.  We may disclose information to other bodies, including other billing authorities and government departments, where it is allowed by law or where you have given consent.

Further information

If you have specific queries about the grant scheme, please contact: covid19businessgrants@eastcambs.gov.uk or telephone 01353 665555.
 
If you would like further information about support for businesses during COVID-19, please look at our webpages: https://www.eastcambs.gov.uk/content/coronavirus-information-businesses
If you would like to speak to someone about your business more generally, please contact our Economic Development Team on 01353 665555. We are experiencing a high volume of calls to this number, so if there is a delay in your call being answered, please email 
 
This grant scheme closes on 28 February 2021.