Grants for businesses

Omicron Discretionary Grant Scheme

Updated 21 February 2022 - the application window has now closed

The Omicron Discretionary Grant (ODG) scheme is aimed at supporting solvent, independent businesses of up to 49 employees  that are not eligible to apply for the mandated Omicron Hospitality and Leisure Grant, where they are reliant on social mixing or live audiences and have been severely impacted by the effects of the Omicron variant and measures put in place to control it (‘Plan B’)

  • Businesses in the hospitality and leisure sector that don’t qualify for the mandated grant
  • Supply chain businesses that rely on hospitality, leisure sectors (including freelancers and home-based businesses)
  • Travel and tourism businesses, including group travel, travel agents and tour operators
  • Gyms, health and sports businesses, where physical exercise or training is conducted on an individual basis or group basis, except those operating on the basis of regular subscriptions. 
  • Face to Face personal health and wellbeing services
  • Cultural and creative businesses reliant on audiences or social mixing
  • Accommodation providers (permanent and short-term provision such as hotels, guest houses or self-catering accommodation, but not AirBnB/similar)
  • Wedding industries
  • Nightclubs
  • Theatres
  • Events industries
  • Wholesalers linked to the hospitality and leisure industry
  • English language schools
  • Breweries
  • Freelance and mobile businesses (caterers, events, hair, beauty and wedding related businesses)
  • Registered Taxi or Black Cab drivers

Retail and take-away food businesses are not eligible to apply for this grant.

Severe impact means at least a demonstrable 25% drop in turnover over a significant period, and/or additional losses or costs associated with, for example, reduced opening hours due to staff shortages or reduced service capacity such as for sickness or recruitment challenges.

New businesses can also apply if they meet all other eligibility requirements and can demonstrate an impact on their revenue due to the recent Omicron variant and the associated Plan B restrictions. This means having demonstrable income which has been severely impacted in the way set out above.
 
Timeframe:
Open: 1 February
Close for applications: 9am 21 February
Payment made from: 1 March

How much is available?

We cannot say the exact levels of each grant until we know the level of applications we receive but the tables below give an indication of what these grant levels may be.  Actual payments could be higher or lower than these.

For businesses that pay business rates:

Rateable Value of your business premises Indicative Grant
Up to £15K £1,000
£15,001 to £50,999 £2,000
£51,000 or over £3,000

You can check your rateable value on your Business Rates Bill or online here

For businesses that do not pay business rates: 

No. of employees (FTE) excluding owner(s) Indicative Grant
0 employees/sole trader £1,000
1 to 4 employees £2,000
5 to 49 employees £3,000

In applying, you must make declarations and provide documentation that confirms your business status, to help prevent fraud. All applications will be checked for eligibility and accuracy.

This funding is available to those that meet the following criteria:

  • Your business has experienced a severe impact on turnover in 2020/21, meaning at least a demonstrable 25% drop, due to the recent impacts of Omicron and the Plan B restrictions.
  • For home-based businesses, soul traders and partnerships, the applicant business owner must be resident in the borough.
  • Be based in the borough of Kingston upon Thames and / or substantially trading and delivering the business in the borough (at least 50% of business and or employees in Kingston upon Thames).
  • Where no business property costs are incurred, you must have other significant demonstrable business costs to cover, such as insurances, professional memberships, software fees, or vehicle lease for example.
  • Businesses that are in shared workspaces, meet the other eligibility criteria and are within the eligible sectors are able to apply. Due to the impact of the Omicron Businesses that have started up and are trading during the pandemic restrictions can also apply, however, grants may be adjusted depending on how long your business has been trading.

I received other grants previously - can I still apply?

If you have received grants from earlier discretionary grants including our Business Restrictions Hardship Grants you can still apply for this grant if you meet the eligibility criteria.  You can’t apply if you are eligible for the government-defined Omicron Hospitality and Leisure Grant.

To be eligible for these grants, all applicants must:
Be a small and micro businesses, as defined by the Enterprise and Employment Act 2015 and the Companies Act 2006, including:

  • Turnover: Not more than £10.2 million
  • Balance sheet total: Not more than 5.1 million
  • Number of employees: a headcount of staff of less than 50

Broadly speaking, 'Leisure and hospitality sector' means:

  • Restaurants, cafés, bars or pubs
  • Cinemas or live music venues
  • Assembly or leisure properties - for example, a bingo hall, a sports club, a gym or spa
  • Hospitality property - for example, a hotel, a guest house or self-catering accommodation

For the purposes of these grants 'Independent' means:

  • Must not be a public limited company
  • Must be below 250 employees across all branches
  • Must not be a national chain, or a more local chain with more than 5 properties. If applying for multiple properties, 1 grant is available per property that is within borough, up to 3 grants, each assessed independently. We may apply discretion with regards to local chains
  • Can be under private, cooperative or community ownership

Changes to the fund
We may have to adjust the grant scheme to meet demand. This means we may need to adjust grant values and eligibility thresholds to meet the budget available. Therefore:

  • Applying for a grant does not necessarily mean that a grant will be paid, even if you meet the eligibility criteria.
  • The grants paid may be higher or lower than the indicative values shown.
  • Kingston Council may change any aspect of the scheme at any time.

Make a grant application

We are required to run an application process for this fund but we’ve kept the application process as simple as possible. Applicants need to make a declaration on loss of income and/or the impact of the ‘Plan B’ restrictions on their business. You may be required to provide further evidence of the loss of income as part of the validation process. Applicants will also need to upload a current bank statement and provide some information about ongoing costs during the application process. It will help to have this ready before you start your application.

Applications will be assessed on receipt and payment made once relevant checks have been made on the information you’ve provided, and eligibility confirmed. Your payment may be delayed if you miss out any of the information required or provide inaccurate information.

Validating your application

We will check every application and its supporting evidence for eligibility. This will include checks with Companies House and/or Credit Referencing Agencies to confirm information about you, your business and bank account. Speculative, false or fraudulent applications will be rejected and applications could be used in legal action where attempted fraud is suspected.

In applying for the grants, you accept that if a grant payment is made in error you must repay this in full. If necessary, action will be taken in these circumstances.

Incomplete applications and applications without clear evidence may be rejected. If a new application is needed the council cannot accept responsibility if the applicant subsequently misses the application window.

Beware of scams and ‘phishing’ emails

Criminals are attempting to take advantage of these schemes. Only submit your form using the link found on this website directly - never use a third party link to get to this, or to respond to a grant ‘paid in error’.

There is no need to pay a company to submit this application for you, and doing so may expose you to risks from scammers.
If we contact you by phone we will email you first. This will enable you to verify who we are. Because the Guildhall Complex remains closed, staff checking your application will be working from home. An incoming call to your phone may show that the caller’s number is withheld because our staff will be using their personal phone. You will be asked to check your email and to quote your claim reference number.

Last Modified: 21/02/2022 12:41:29

Apply for a Hardship Grant

Apply for a Hardship Grant