Issue - meetings

Covid-19 Additional Relief Fund (CARF)

Meeting: 18/01/2022 - Policy and Finance (Item 584)

584 Covid-19 Additional Relief Fund (CARF) pdf icon PDF 715 KB

Report of Director of Resources enclosed.


The Director of Resources submitted a report updating committee on the Covid 19 Additional Relief Fund (CARF) that was announced by the Chancellor on 21 December 2021.


She explained that liability for business rates is based upon the rateable value of a property set by the Valuation Office Agency (VOA) which are updated at revaluations. The next revaluation is planned for 1 April 2023 with a valuation date of 1 April 2021.


In between revaluations, rateable values can only be changed to reflect ‘material changes of circumstances’. Since the start of the pandemic the VOA had received many checks arguing that interventions concerning the use of property were a material change, which if successful, would have a major impact on the level of rateable values. The Government therefore introduced primary legislation with retrospective effect clarifying that coronavirus was not an appropriate use of the material change of circumstances provision. The Rating (Coronavirus) and Directors Disqualification (Dissolved Companies) Bill received Royal assent on 15 December 2021.


In March 2021 the Government had announced a new Covid 19 Additional Relief Fund (CARF) of £1.5 billion intended to support businesses affected by the pandemic that are ineligible for the existing support linked to business rates. Guidance had been issued to local authorities detailing how the scheme should operate. Ribble Valley Borough Council had been allocated £1,239,191.


The Director of Resources informed committee that the guidance stated that billing authorities were responsible for designing a discretionary relief scheme in their area that would be granted using powers contained in Section 47(8A) of the Local Government Finance Act 1988. The scheme must not award relief to ratepayers who have received Expanded Retail Discount or Nursery Discount. It was also for local authorities to determine how much relief should be awarded to each eligible business subject to subsidy control rules detailed in the guidance.


She informed members that a meeting of the Lancashire Revenues Managers had taken place on 11 January 2022 to discuss the issues regarding the scheme share ideas.


As it was difficult to estimate the level of demand, it was suggested that applications from businesses that meet the eligibility criteria be invited for a set period up to 28 February 2022, and then determine the level of relief to award each category of property based on the applications received. 


Councillor Mirfin was given permission to speak on this item.




Endorse the suggested approach and invite applications from businesses who meet the eligibility criteria as set out in the guidance, with a view to another report coming to the next meeting to determine the level of relief to be awarded.