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Decision details

Omicron Business Grants

Decision Maker: Leader of the Council

Decision status: Recommendations Approved

Is Key decision?: Yes

Is subject to call in?: No

Purpose:

As a result of the Omicron variant and resulting restrictions, the Government has released a further allocation of Additional Restrictions Grant (ARG) funding to Local Authorities to enable them to provide direct grants to businesses that have suffered from a loss of trade.

 

Urgent approval is required to enable the immediate delivery of grants to support eligible businesses who have experienced a loss of income over the recent period.

 

 

Decision:

That the Leader of the Council:-

 

1)    Accepts the amount of Additional Restrictions Grant (ARG) provided by the South Yorkshire Mayoral Combined Authority for this scheme;

 

2)    If not provided direct as a Section 31 grant, accepts the Omicron Hospitality and Leisure Grant funding provided by the South Yorkshire Mayoral Combined Authority for this scheme;

 

3)    Approves the ARG scheme as set out in section 1.3.3 of the report;

 

4)    Where not already covered by the Leader’s Scheme of Delegation, delegates authority to the Executive Director of Resources, in consultation with the Executive Member for Finance and Executive Member for Inclusive Economy, Jobs and Skills, to take decisions to implement the scheme as outlined in the report and receive any further allocations of ARG and develop and implement business support schemes within the ARG guidance available at that time; and

 

5)    Notes the implementation of the Omicron Hospitality and Leisure Grant scheme as required by Government.

 

 

 

Reasons for the decision:

The Council has been requested by Government to implement a grant scheme to support small businesses and organisations that have been severely impacted upon by restrictions or the Omicron variant.

 

The grants will provide financial support to businesses who suffered a loss on income as a result Covid-19. It is intended that the ARG grants will enable local businesses to survive over one of their busiest periods and return to normal trading later in the year and in doing so maintain jobs and support the Sheffield economy.

 

Alternative options considered:

Do-Nothing - considering the need to support businesses and organisations as part of the response to the economic crisis resulting from the Omicron variant and that the ARG will be at no cost to the Council, there is no reason not to implement the grant scheme.

 

Other Sector Support - consideration has been given to providing ARG grant to other business sectors impacted upon by restrictions and Omicron. However, these have been discounted for a number of reasons including:-

 

a)    The amount of funding available after delivering the grants identified in 1.3.3 of the report would likely lead to very small value grants being made available.

b)    The impact on other sectors is mixed and would require detailed assessment to determine actual loss of income. The time to establish and implement a fair assessment process would jeopardise the ability to defray all the funding within the timescale available.

 

It is worth noting that several other Business Rate Relief schemes are in development that might provide support to businesses that are not eligible for this round of ARG and OHLG support. These schemes include:-

 

·       Extension of Transitional Relief

·       Extension of Supporting Small Business Relief

·       Covid-19 Additional Relief Fund (CARF)

·       2022/23 Retail Hospitality and Leisure Relief Scheme

 

 

Urgent item?: Yes

Publication date: 14/01/2022

Date of decision: 13/01/2022

Accompanying Documents: