The scheme was announced on 1 December and will close on 29 December 2020. Final applications must be received by local authorities by 31 January 2021.
However, while the Government expects local authorities will provide pubs with the grants as soon as possible, it also stated it will be no later than 28 February 2021 – two months after Christmas.
The grant, which was labelled "meagre" by the trade, is administered by local authorities and pubs should contact their council to apply for the funding.
It is up to local councils to use their discretion when determining businesses meet the eligibility criteria and eligible firms will be paid a one-off lump sum of £1,000.
The Government stated a pub may be eligible if:
- It is based in England
- Derives less than half (50%) of sales from food
- Have been in a tier two or tier three area since 2 December 2020
- Were established in the pub before 1 December 2020
However, pubs are excluded if:
- You have exceeded the permitted state aid threshold
- Your business is in administration, insolvent or has been struck off the Companies House register
The Christmas Support Payment counts towards the total de minimis state aid allowed over a three-year period of €200,000 (£180,872).
If you have reached the threshold, you could still be eligible for funding under the Covid-19 Temporary Framework, which has a limit of €800,000 (£723,584).
Your local council will ask you to complete a declaration confirming you will not exceed the relevant state aid threshold and you were not an ‘undertaking in difficulty’ on 31 December 2019 – this applies to the temporary framework only.
Local authorities may ask pubs to provide accounting evidence that they get 50% of their income form food sales to determine the pub is wet-led and these account should be dated no later than 11 March 2020 (covering a period when trade was not impacted by coronavirus).
Other exclusions from the scheme are pubs that receive 50% of their income from food sales and businesses in areas moving from tier one to tier two or three after 29 December.
Businesses must have been trading on 30 November (the day before the scheme was announced) to be eligible to receive funding under this scheme. Where local restrictions are preceded by national ‘lockdown’ measures, requiring the closure of businesses that are otherwise eligible, it is accepted that those businesses are still trading
Guidance from the Government said the definition of a pub should exclude restaurants, cafés, nightclubs, hotels, snack bars, guesthouses, boarding houses, sporting venues, music venues, festival sites, theatres, museums, exhibition halls, cinemas, concert halls and casinos.
The grant income is taxable and will need to be included as income in the tax return of the business.