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Business support

Published on 20 March 2020

Business support


Omicron Hospitality and Leisure Grant: We have now received guidance on the new Omicron Hospitality and Leisure Grant. The application process is now open and available below.

Additional Restrictions Grant (2022) (Not Open Yet): To support businesses most severely impacted by the rise of the Omicron variant. Grants will be issued at the discretion of the local authority and will be based on local economic need.

Updated guidance has now been received for this grant scheme, and we have confirmation of our allocation from Government totalling £210,486 which is the fund provided to administer this scheme. A document setting out the full eligibility criteria and information on supporting evidence required will be available soon. Please follow this page for updates on when the fund will be open for applications. 


Coronavirus (Covid-19) business support grants

On 21 December the government announced further grant support for businesses experiencing difficulties because of the Omicron variant and the dual impact of staff absences and lower consumer demand. 

The government has confirmed that there will be funding for two new grant schemes: 

  • Omicron Hospitality and Leisure Grant
  • Additional Restrictions Grant (top-up funding)

Omicron Hospitality and Leisure Grant

We have now received guidance from government about this new grant to support businesses (as of 30 December 2021).

The scheme will provide support to hospitality, leisure and accommodation businesses in recognition that the rise of the Omicron variant means that some businesses have been struggling during this time. 

The support will be a one-off grant, available for businesses on the Valuation Office Agency (VOA) business ratings list on 30 December 2021 only. 

Grants amounts that are available:

Rateable value

Grant award amount

Rateable value of £15,000 or under


Rateable value of over £15,000 and less than £51,000


Rateable value of exactly £51,000 or over


The primary principle of the Omicron Hospitality and Leisure Grant scheme is to support businesses that offer in-person services, where the main service and activity takes place in a fixed rate-paying premises, in the hospitality, leisure and accommodation sectors.

Omicron Hospitality and Leisure Grant - Eligible Businesses
Business categorisation for the purposes of grant funding thresholds

Threshold definitions for the purposes of this scheme are:

  • Hospitality definition: a business whose main function is to provide a venue for the consumption and sale of food and drink (excludes food businesses whose main service is a takeaway).
  • Leisure definition: a business that provides opportunities, experiences and facilities, in particular for culture, recreation, entertainment, celebratory events, days and nights out, betting and gaming (excludes gyms, swimming pools, dance and fitness studios & golf courses).
  • Accommodation definition: a business whose main lodging provision is used for holiday, travel and other purposes.

The table below sets out types of businesses that are eligible under the sector thresholds for this scheme. This list is not exhaustive, but indicative of the types of businesses that can be supported under this scheme.

Support type

Types of businesses


Food courts

Public houses/pub restaurants


Roadside restaurants

Wine bars



Casinos and gambling clubs


Museums and art galleries

Stately homes & historic houses


Zoos & safari parks

Amusement parks

Wedding venues

Events venues

Night clubs & discotheques


Concert halls

Tourist attractions

Theme parks

Amusement arcades

Soft play centres or areas

Clubs & institutions

Village halls & scout huts, cadet huts, etc.


Caravan parks

Caravan sites and pitches

Chalet parks

Coaching inns

Country house hotels

Guest houses




Holiday apartments, Cottages or bungalows


Boarding houses

Canal boats or other vessels


Catered holiday homes

Holiday homes


All grant income received by a business is taxable. This grant is subject to subsidy allowance rules (see below). 

A link to the online application form is available here. The application deadline is 14.02.22. The final payment deadline is 31.03.22

The application process is very similar to previous grant schemes administered by the council. Please make sure you have the following information and evidence ready when you complete the application form:   

  • Business bank statement dated within the past two months. 
  • Your unique business rates reference number (located on your NNDR/business rates bill from the council). 
  • Your business unique reference number.  
  • For limited companies, this should be your companies house registration number. 
  • For other ratepayers, this may be your national insurance number, unique taxpayer reference, VAT registration number, charity registration number, etc. 


Additional Restrictions Grant (early 2022)

The government has announced a third top up amount to local authorities for the Additional Restrictions Grant (ARG), to support businesses severely impacted by the rise of the Omicron variant that are not eligible for the Omicron Hospitality and Leisure Grant.  

Grants will be issued at the discretion of the local authority and will be based on local economic need. 

A policy document setting out the full eligibility criteria will appear here soon once funding allocations have been confirmed. 

A link to the online application form will appear here when available. 

GOV.UK have information on further financial support for businesses during coronavirus (COVID-19) . 


Carlisle City Centre Business Growth Grants

We are providing grants for new and growing small-medium businesses looking to occupy vacant space in Carlisle City Centre.

We recognise that in order to support Carlisle and its city centre through the recovery phase, businesses and organisations need the confidence to invest in the city centre again. This fund will support our city centre through these challenging times, reducing vacancy rates and encouraging investment and growth.

This grant fund will provide up to £2,500 (£5,000 for particularly strong cases) for businesses occupying vacant space in Carlisle City Centre. The award of the grant is subject to an appraisal process. This is a discretionary grant, and the decision to award a grant is entirely at the Council’s discretion.

The grant may be used for capital expenditure relating to:

  • Physical improvements to the premise, including improvements to the frontage of the building and signage - subject to the relevant planning permission being secured.
  • To provide equipment essential for the operation of the business.



Criteria for businesses - in order to qualify for this grant, businesses must fall into one of the following categories:  

  • A new start-up beginning trading in Carlisle City Centre.
  • An SME/microbusiness re-locating to Carlisle city centre from outside the district or opening a new branch in Carlisle.
  • Existing SME/Microbusiness currently trading in Carlisle City Centre, demonstrating growth, expanding to a larger premise or significantly diversifying their business model to run more sustainably.

Criteria for the premise - In order to qualify for this grant, businesses must demonstrate that the property they are looking to trade form meets all of the following criteria:

Must be vacant or have vacant ground floor space in it which the applicant business will occupy. This includes businesses who have begun renovating a vacant space but have not started trading.

  • Must be held by the applicant by a minimum of a 2-year lease.
  • Must be brought into use by the applicant business.
  • Must be in the area of Carlisle City Centre.

To apply for the grant, please complete an application form and return to us at [email protected], by post to City Centre Business Growth Grant Team, Carlisle City Council, Civic Centre, Carlisle, CA3 8QG with all the relevant documents required for a full application. This grant will be allocated on a first come first serve basis.

Please read our policy in full before applying.

Documents to download:

These documents may not be suitable for users of assistive technology.

If you use assistive technology (such as a screen reader) and need a version of this document in a more accessible format, please email [email protected] Please tell us what format you need. It will help us if you say what assistive technology you use


Please see what evidence we need from you:

Payment details

Evidence Required: Copy of bank statement clearly showing name, address, sort code and account number.

Comment: This must match the name of the business or individual listed on the business rates bill or

Lease/mortgage agreement

Evidence of your right to occupy the premise you are applying from

Evidence Required: You will need to provide a copy of your current lease agreement or title deeds/ mortgage statement if you own the property.

Evidence that your business/project is viable

Evidence Required: Please submit a 12-month cashflow forecast and business plan, if available.

Comment: We recognise that businesses may not have all the required information, however we do require some evidence that shows your business/project is viable before we can realise public funds. If you do not have the relevant documents, please return a similar document that is relevant

Evidence of how you will use the money

Evidence Required: Please submit quotes of works from a professional company at a minimum for work that will be undertaken with support from the grant fund. We require a minimum of three quotes per project.

Comment: We need clear evidence that the fund will be used properly and in line with the guidance provided above. If there is any doubt around how the fund


Additional Restrictions Grant: Local Recovery Grant from April 2021

We have now received the top up ARG funding from government and have been able to pay the majority of eligible grant applications received for the Local Recovery Grant (ARG).

We still have some funding available and opened a second round of applications on Monday 12 July - this closed at 2pm on Monday 19 July. 

This grant scheme is now closed, and we are not able to take any new applications.


Restart Grants

The one off grant was payable to non-essential retail, hospitality, accommodation, leisure, personal care and gym businesses, that are in the Rating list and were trading on 1 April 2021.

Those businesses that received payments under the Local Restrictions Support Grant (Closed) received automatic payments, if they qualified.

The scheme is now closed.


Local Restrictions Support Grant (closed businesses) application

The Local Restrictions Support Grant (Closed Premises) was for businesses that were required to close under restrictions imposed. 

Support for LRSG (Closed) has now ended.


Local Restrictions Support Grant (Open)

The grant was for business which were severely impacted by the Tier 2 Restrictions but not required to close. This scheme focused on supporting hospitality, accommodation and leisure/events businesses in line with Government guidance.

This grant scheme is now closed, and we are not able to take any new applications.


Christmas Support Payment for wet-led pubs

The Christmas Support payment was a single one-off payment of £1,000 for wet-led pubs. This grant scheme has now ended.


One off top-up grants for closed retail, leisure and hospitality sectors

The one-off top up grants for retail, hospitality and leisure businesses have now ended.


EU Transition

A deal with the EU has been reached and businesses should take action to ensure that their business operations can run smoothly as new rules apply. Businesses should prioritise taking any actions as soon as possible in the new year. 

The links below provide more information to support business:

  • Use the Brexit checker tool for a personalised list of actions.
  • Sign up here for business readiness bulletins to receive important updates for your business.
  • If you move goods into, out of, or through Northern Ireland, check the latest Northern Ireland Protocol guidance here.
  • For guidance on Rules of Origin see here
  • For details of the new arrangements for hiring workers from the EU see here.
  • For travelling to Europe check here and for passports here.
  • For Data Protection and Data Flows check here.
  • UK Government information
  • Cumbria Chamber of Commerce's Brexit Toolkit
  • Cumbria LEP

Government guidance 

Coronavirus (COVID-19) support is available to businesses:

For guidance and support visit this website.

Stay up to date with GOV.UK

Sign up to get emails when we add new coronavirus business support information


Funding support

For funding opportunities visit 

We are providing local businesses with free access to its local business support and grant portal provided by Open4Business. This is tailored for the Carlisle area and includes local, regional and national schemes. Business can also search for funding relevant to their size and sector. To use the portal, you will first need to register with Open4Business. Visit the portal here.

The government’s ‘support finder’ tool helps businesses and self-employed people across the UK to quickly and easily determine what financial support is available to them during the coronavirus pandemic. The link is here.


NHS Test and Trace

Venues such as pubs, restaurants, hair salons and cinemas are now required by law to record contact details of their customers, visitors and staff in the latest move to stop the spread of coronavirus.

The NHS COVID-19 app launched on Thursday 24 September in England and Wales, including QR check-in at venues.

Designated businesses and organisations, including hospitality, close contact services and leisure venues, will also be legally required to log details of customers, visitors and staff for NHS Test and Trace.

Businesses are now required to display official NHS QR code posters so customers who have downloaded the new NHS COVID-19 app can use their smartphones to easily check-in.

Businesses can download the QR codes here - to display as posters in premises.

Using the COVID-19 app, customers and visitors in England are now able to check-in on entry with their phone instead of filling out a check-in book or tool specific to a business. This will allow NHS Test and Trace to contact customers with public health advice should there be a COVID-19 outbreak.

Services included in the new legal requirements are:

  • Hospitality, including pubs, bars, restaurants and cafés.

  • Tourism and leisure, including gyms, swimming pools, hotels, museums, cinemas, zoos and theme parks.

  • Close contact services, including hairdressers *facilities provided by local authorities, including town halls and civic centres (for events), libraries and children’s centres.

For further details on the announcement please click here and for guidance on maintaining records of staff, customers and visitors to support NHS Test and Trace click here.

The government has also prepared a bank of resources. Click here to view these.

The full list of business settings is listed here.


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