Additional support will be available for businesses who have been impacted by the Omicron variant, the Chancellor, Rishi Sunak announced today (21 December).
- Businesses in the hospitality and leisure sectors in England will be eligible for one-off grants of up to £6,000 per premises, plus more than £100 million discretionary funding will be made available for local authorities to support other businesses
- Government will also cover the cost of Statutory Sick Pay for Covid-related absences for small and medium-sized employers across the UK
- £30 million further funding will be made available through the Culture Recovery Fund, enabling more cultural organisations in England to apply for support during the winter
Recognising that the rise of the Omicron variant means some businesses are likely to struggle over the coming weeks, the government is providing one-off grants of up to £6,000 per premises for businesses in the hospitality and leisure sectors in England.
At what is often their most profitable time of year, many pubs and restaurants have seen cancellations and reduced footfall as people have responded to the rise in cases ahead of Christmas, with Hospitality UK reporting that many businesses have lost 40-60% of their December trade, often their most profitable month.
Around 200,000 businesses will be eligible for business grants which will be administered by local authorities and will be available in the coming weeks.
Given the uncertain situation faced by businesses, the government has chosen to provide generous grants, which are equivalent to the monthly cash grants provided to hospitality businesses when they were fully closed earlier this year, despite businesses now being still able to trade.
The effectiveness of government policies to support the economy through the pandemic and the success of businesses in learning to adapt means the economy is in a different place now than it was at the start of the crisis.
Many businesses have more cash in the bank than they did at the start of the pandemic and net cash deposits for all hospitality businesses have risen by £7 billion (40%), while small and medium-sized businesses in the hospitality sector have seen their cash deposits rise by £2 billion (79%).
Fewer businesses have become insolvent, with insolvencies running 25% lower than pre-pandemic in hospitality, and vacancies are 50% above pre-pandemic levels.
New Business Grants
The government is introducing a new grant scheme to support businesses that are experiencing difficulties because of the Omicron variant. Hospitality and leisure premises will benefit from targeted grant support. The Additional Restrictions Grant will also be topped up so local authorities (LAs) can continue to use their discretion to support other businesses in their area, based on local economic need.
Statutory Sick Pay Rebate scheme (SSPRS)
The Statutory Sick Pay Rebate scheme (SSPRS) allows small and medium sized employers to claim the costs of up to two weeks of Covid-related SSP.