COVID-19 Additional Relief Fund (CARF)

The COVID-19 Additional Relief Fund (CARF) has been created by the Government to provide support to business ratepayers that have been impacted by Covid-19 but have not so far received other reliefs.

The CARF scheme excludes certain sectors such as Accommodation and Food services on the basis that these are already receiving financial support through the Extended Retail Discount.

Eligible businesses will receive a one-off discretionary relief applying to the 2021/22 financial year and the amount of relief will depend on the rateable value of the premises occupied.

Level of Relief to be awarded

The Bexley CARF award will be set at 65% of the total charge due on the eligible property during the period 2021/22.

Most eligible businesses in Bexley have been awarded CARF automatically

Most of Bexley’s CARF funding has been distributed via an auto-award process where certain categories and sectors of Business Ratepayers in Bexley have been written to by the Council’s Business Rates team during early June 2022 to be offered the relief.

Broadly, the eligible sectors are:

  • business administration & support services
  • construction
  • information & communication
  • manufacturing
  • motor trades
  • professional, scientific and technical
  • property
  • wholesale/storage and distribution

The scheme specifically excludes:

  • the Council or Council departments
  • other public sector bodies
  • charities and churches
  • registered social landlords
  • political parties or organisations
  • trade unions
  • utility companies
  • banks and building societies
  • retail and hospitality businesses

It also excludes premises which are categorised as any of the following:

  • advertising rights and premises (e.g. hoardings)
  • communication stations (e.g. phone masts)
  • telephone kiosks 
  • cold stores
  • retail distribution warehouses
  • post office sorting centres
  • self-storage centres
  • car Washes

Only business premises meeting the above criteria with a Rateable Value (RV) of £51,000 or less were eligible for the automatic award of this relief. Businesses with an RV above £51,000 may apply through the discretionary application process described below.

Discretionary application process

If you are a ratepayer operating in Bexley within one of the above sectors and you believe you may be eligible for CARF but have not received written notification of relief, you may apply for this through a dedicated application form provided below.

How to apply for CARF

You must complete one application for each rateable property that your business occupies in Bexley and which you believe is eligible. For example, if you are the ratepayer for two properties within Bexley and you have reason to believe they will both be eligible for CARF, you must complete and submit two applications.

CARF can only be awarded once per rateable property - so please do not apply for any properties for which you have already been auto-awarded the relief.

The scheme will close to new applications at 5pm on Friday 16 September 2022. We reserve the right to close the application form earlier than advertised should the available funding become oversubscribed.

Reliefs will be awarded on a first-come, first-served basis for eligible applications based on the date and time of submission. Only those applications containing all requested information and supporting evidence will be considered. Because of the limited funding available we cannot guarantee that every eligible applicant will receive this relief.

The discretionary award will be set at 65% of the total charge due on the eligible property during the period 2021/22 subject to a maximum cap of £50,000 per property.

Eligibility criteria

Who can apply

To be eligible for this relief, your business must meet all the criteria set out below:

  • your business occupies premises in the London borough of Bexley and you are the registered Ratepayer for that premises
  • you have been liable for paying Business Rates (NNDR) on premises in Bexley during the period 1 April 2021 to 31 March 2022. This is even if you were the ratepayer for the premises for only part of that year
  • your business has been negatively impacted by Covid-19, and you can provide evidence of this. You will need to tell us how Covid-19 has impacted your business. For example, in terms of:
    • customers/footfall
    • cancellations
    • turnover or income
    • staffing levels
    • opening hours
    • supply chain disruption
  • your business operates in one of the following industry sectors:
    • business administration & support services
    • construction
    • information & communication
    • manufacturing
    • motor trades
    • professional, scientific, and technical
    • property
    • wholesale/storage and distribution

Who can't apply

You will not be eligible for this grant if:

  • your business does not occupy any rateable premises within the London Borough of Bexley (check whether an address is in Bexley)
  • your business had not been in occupation of a premises in Bexley during the period 1 April 2021 to 31 March 2022.  If your business started occupying a premises after 31 March 2022 you would not be eligible
  • your business is in administration, insolvent or subject to a striking off notice
  • your business has exceeded or is likely to exceed the permitted state subsidy limit as set out in the UK: EU Trade and Cooperation Agreement (TCA). (i.e. you have received more than 325,000 Special Drawing Rights - approximately £335,000 as of 2 March 2021 in Government funds/support over the last three years)
  • your business has received any previous Covid-19 related reliefs - specifically:
    • the Extended Retail Discount (covering Retail, Hospitality and Leisure)
    • the Nursery Discount
    • the Airport and Ground Operations Support Scheme (AGOSS)
  • your business is included in the list of excluded sectors and property categories listed above
  • your business was not liable to pay any Business Rates on the premises during the 2021-22 financial year - for example, you were awarded 100% relief under Small Business Rates Relief (SBRR) which is usually applicable on premises with RV of £12,000 or below

Apply for the COVID-19 Additional Relief Fund (CARF)

What happens after my application is submitted?

Using the information provided by you, we will carry out due diligence checks and review the evidence that you submitted to ensure your business qualifies.

Speculative, false, fraudulent, or incomplete applications will be rejected.

It is not possible to provide a precise turnaround time for the relief to be applied as this is dependent on factors such as the backlog of submissions and the complexities of some business arrangements in relation to the eligibility criteria.

Applicants passing eligibility checks will be awarded relief based on the principle of first-come, first-served (eligible applications received earlier will be prioritised over later ones) until the available funding is exhausted.  

The relief will be applied to your 2021/22 Business Rates Account and an amended bill will be issued for the period. If you have already fully paid your Business Rates bill for this period and your account becomes in credit, you will receive an automated credit bill and a refund application form to complete. Any enquiries regarding a CARF refund should be emailed to bexley.nndr@secure.capita.co.uk, using CARF REFUND in the subject line of your email.

We will inform successful applicants, but if you do not hear from us within 21 working days of the closing date (Friday 16 September 2022), please assume your application has been unsuccessful.

Can I appeal a decision about my grant application?

There is no right of appeal and the Council’s decision will be final.

Fraudulent applications

The Council reserves the right to independently check information provided by applicants and request further information if required. If found to be false, awarded reliefs will be reversed and, if refunds have been paid, we will institute recovery processes for the repayment of any monies paid and consider taking appropriate legal action. 

Beware of scammers

Please beware of third parties offering to act on your behalf for a fee. The process is free, straightforward and only requires you to provide information already available to you.