In response to the toll the Omicron variant is taking on the leisure and hospitality sectors; amid a tidal wave of staff shortages, early closures, pivoting back to takeaway and of course, cancellation after cancellation, the government is introducing a new grant/funding 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.
The fine detail is yet to be released, however, it has been reported that this will cover:
- Grants for hospitality and leisure businesses in England, worth up to £6,000 per premise – The Treasury has set aside £683m for these payments, which will be administered through local authorities and will be available in the coming weeks.
- Further grants for businesses in England, worth £102m, intended to help businesses most in need, and again administered through local authorities.
- The resumption of the statutory sick pay rebate scheme, which will reimburse employers in the UK with fewer than 250 workers for the cost of paying statutory sick pay for Covid-related absences for up to two weeks
- An extra £30m for arts organisations in the UK, paid through the culture recovery fund.
The Chancellor said:
“Now, of course I will always respond proportionately and appropriately to the situation that we face, people can have confidence in that, but where we are now we have responded I think generously today…The grants that I’ve outlined, up to £6,000, are comparable to the grants that we provided for hospitality businesses when they were completely closed earlier this year – so there is a benchmark for you.”
Here is the breakdown of the £1bn funding:
- £683 million for targeted grants for hospitality and leisure businesses in England. Individual businesses will be eligible for a one-off grant of up to £6,000 per premises
- £102 million for local authorities to support other businesses (e.g. events or wholesalers) as part of the Additional Restrictions Grant in England.
- £30 million to help the arts sector via for Culture Recovery Fund in England
- £155 million of funding for the devolved nations to cover all three of the above, with about £80 million going to the Scottish Government, £50 million to the Welsh and £25 million to Northern Ireland.
Here is a link to the Government policy on the grants https://assets.publishing.service.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/1042718/Public_fact_sheet_-_LA_grants.pdf
As always, we will provide more information as this is released on future details or the grants.
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