Digital Boost for Tourism Grant Policy

The Digital Boost for Tourism Grant scheme offers grants of up to £7,500 to help Uttlesford businesses in the tourism sector to develop their online services.

This scheme will offer grants of up to £7,500 to Uttlesford businesses in the tourism sector to support them to develop or improve their website and social media platforms, to develop online booking systems and e-commerce platforms if appropriate.

Free webinars will be delivered to help local businesses identify the best options for their business and how they can maximise the use of this grant scheme.
 

Aims

The aims of the grant scheme are to:

  • support the tourism sector to develop, add to or upgrade their digital presence to maximise their reach and appeal to a digitally aware customer bas
  • bring in more visitors to the Uttlesford district and increase visitor spend in the district
     

What the grant can be used for

You can apply for a grant to fund:

  • a new business website or an upgrade to your existing website
  • an online booking system for your business
  • an e-commerce platform for online sales
  • support to establish social media platforms and develop skills to maximise their use
     

What the grant cannot be used for

You cannot use the grant to fund:

  • the purchase of hardware
  • maintenance of existing digital technology
  • purchase of domain names
  • website hosting as a stand-alone cost
  • paid advertising e.g. using Google AdWords, Facebook etc.
     

How much you can apply for

If your business does not have a website, online booking system, e-commerce platform or social media presence you can apply for up to £7,500.

If your business has a website, online booking system, e-commerce platform and social media presence but you wish to upgrade then you can apply for a grant of up to £5,000.

VAT

If your business is VAT registered any grant offer will be for the cost of the item(s) excluding VAT.

If your business is not VAT registered: the grant can pay the cost of the item(s) including the VAT.
 

Eligibility

Eligible businesses include those in the following sectors:

a. Accommodation
b. Visitor attractions
c. Hospitality
d. Leisure
e. Retail in the following locations:

  • Saffron Walden Town Centre
  • Great Dunmow Town Centre
  • Thaxted Town Centre
  • Stansted Mountfitchet - main commercial area of Lower Street and Cambridge Road

Your business must:

  • be located within the Uttlesford district.
  • have been open and trading on 1st February 2021 and engaged in business activity. This should be interpreted as carrying on a trade or profession or buying and selling goods or services in order to generate turnover
  • not be insolvent, in administration, or having been issued a striking off notice
  • qualify as one of the following within the private sector:
    • "Micro" as defined by s384A (and not excluded by s384B) of the Companies Act 2006; or
    • "Small" as defined by s382 and 383 (and not excluded by s384) of the Companies Act 2006; or
    • "Medium-Sized" as defined s465 and 466 (and not excluded by s467) of the Companies Act 2006;
  • have all up-to-date and relevant certificate(s) to show compliance with laws and regulations relevant to its trade (for example a food hygiene certificate, a licence to sell alcohol, permission to operate a pavement seating area, trading authority)
  • not have received grant payments that equal or exceed the maximum permitted subsidy allowance

We will not usually award multiple grants to the same business or individual unless that business or individual can clearly demonstrate that it operates form multiple premises in the Uttlesford district.

We reserve the right to refuse any or all payments to any business or individual that is considered to be intentionally making multiple claims for the same business or premises.
 

Deadline for applications

Applications must be received by 5pm Tuesday 15 March 2022.

We recommend that you apply as early as possible as funding is limited and will be allocated on a first come first served basis.

All approved grants in this scheme must be paid to recipients before 31 March 2022. Payments after this date will not be allowed in any circumstances.
 

The application process

In all cases, you will be required to confirm that you are eligible to receive the grant.

An application for a Digital Boost for Tourism Grant is deemed to have been made when a duly completed application form including the required additional evidence is received via our online procedure.

Once your online application is received we will acknowledge receipt of your grant application. If you do not receive this acknowledgement, please email business@uttlesford.gov.uk to check your application has been received.

All applicants are encouraged to attend a short webinar that will help to understand the best choices for their business and the priorities for the use of the grant. Four webinars will be delivered during the week commencing 28 February 2022 at different times of the day in order to be convenient for local businesses.

You will need to upload proof of a quote for the services that you wish to purchase, and you will need to provide an outline of their current website and online presence. You will also need to explain the expected benefits to you business if you receive this grant.

The grant will not cover retrospective expenditure.

Applications will require a recent bank statement and provide any other evidence that is requested.

Assessment of applications

Grant applications are assessed on their individual merit against the grant funding eligibility criteria on behalf of the council by the Economic Development Team.

You will be advised if your grant application has been approved or rejected. If approved the grant will be paid into your nominated bank account and you need to purchase the items included in the application within 28 days.

All applicants will be offered information about free digital skills training that is available, or more specialist digital business support services.
 

Scheme of delegation

Officers of the council will administer the scheme and the Section 151 Officer is authorised to make technical scheme amendments to ensure it meets the criteria set by the Council and in line with Government guidance.
 

Review of decisions

We will operate an internal review process and will accept your request for a review of our decision.

All such requests must be made in writing to us within 14 days of our decision and should state the reasons why the applicant disagrees with the decision. New information may be submitted at this stage to support your appeal.

Your application will be reconsidered by a senior officer, as soon as practicable and you'll be informed by email of the decision.
 

Tax

Grant income is taxable but only businesses making an overall profit once the grant is included will be subject to tax.

We do not accept any responsibility in relation to an applicant's tax liabilities and all applicants should make their own enquiries to establish any tax position.

You should note that we are required to inform Her Majesty's Revenue and Customs (HMRC) of all payments made to your business.
 

Counter fraud

Local authorities will not accept deliberate manipulation and will work collaboratively across the region and nationally to share intelligence and resources to detect fraud.

Any business found to be giving false eligibility information or seeking to gain an additional grant will be investigated.

We will recover money paid in error and fraudulent claims will be prosecuted in the courts. 
 

State aid

The EU State Aid rules no longer apply and from 4 March 2021 new subsidy allowances were established for the COVID-19 business grant schemes. Payments received by the applicant from any of the business grant schemes administered by local authorities or anything similar from the government, for all business properties they are responsible for, counts as Subsidy Allowance.

There are three subsidy allowances:

  1. Small Amounts of Financial Assistance Allowance
    This allowance is £335,000 over three fiscal year periods at 03 March 2021.
     
  2. COVID-19 Business Grant Allowance
    Where the Small Amounts of Financial Assistance Allowance has been reached, grants may be paid in compliance with the principles set out in Article 3.4 of the Trade and Cooperation Agreement. For the purpose of this scheme, this allowance is £1,600,000 per business and includes grants previously received under the COVID-19 business grant schemes. This may be combined with the Small Amounts of Financial Assistance Allowance to equal £1,935,000. The COVID-19 Business Grant Special Allowance. (Grants provided in excess of the Small Amounts of Financial Assistance Allowance may not be granted to applicants that were defined as an 'undertaking in difficulty).
     
  3. The Special Allowance
    Where an applicant has reached its limit under the Small Amounts of Financial Assistance Allowance and the COVID-19 Business Grant Allowance, it may be able to access a further allowance of funding under these scheme rules of up to £9,000,000 for business, provided the following conditions are met:
    • The Special Allowance covers only the applicants uncovered fixed costs incurred during the period 1 March 2020 and 31 March 2022. Uncovered fixed costs means fixed costs not otherwise covered by profit, insurance, or other subsidies
    • Applicants can demonstrate a decline in turnover from audited or official accounts of 30% compared to 2019
    • The Grant payment must not exceed 70% of the applicant's uncovered fixed costs (except where you have less than 50 employees and less than £9m annual turnover), where the grant payment must not exceed 90% of the uncovered fixed costs
    • Grants under this scheme shall not be cumulated with other subsidies for the same costs
    • Evidence is provided to demonstrate eligibility

The Additional Restrictions Support Grant counts towards state aid. Read the rules on State Aid guidance and Temporary Framework for State Aid for COVID-19 responses (GOV.UK).

By accepting this grant you must confirm that you are not in breach of these rules. 

Within a three-year period, payments of up to and including approximately £721,000 can be provided under the De Minimis rules, the equivalent of up to €800,000 of aid.
 

Who can receive the grant

Government has stated that the person who will receive the grant will be the person who, according to our records, was the ratepayer in respect of the business at the effective date.

Where:

  • we believe that the information we hold about the ratepayer at the effective date is inaccurate, we may withhold or recover the grant and take reasonable steps to identify the correct ratepayer
  • it is subsequently determined that the records held are incorrect, we reserve the right to recover any grant incorrectly paid
  • any business misrepresents information or contrives to take advantage of the scheme, we will look to recover any grant paid and take appropriate legal action

Likewise, if any ratepayer is found to have falsified records in order to obtain a grant.

Where there is no entry in the rating list for the business, we will have discretion to determine who should receive the grant.