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New support for businesses worst affected by Omicron

Earlier today, Rishi Sunak announced additional support will be available for businesses who have been impacted by the Omicron variant.

So, what do we know?

  • Businesses in the hospitality* and leisure sectors in England will be eligible for one-off grants of up to £6,000 per premises (total allocated for England is £683m)
  • £100 million in discretionary funding will be made available for local authorities to support other businesses
  • £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
  • The Government will also cover the cost of Statutory Sick Pay for Covid-related absences for small and medium-sized employers across the UK

It is anticipated that 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.

More details

There are four elements to the support package announced for businesses based in England:

Element Who is it for? More details Administered by
One off grant of up to £6,000 – based on rateable value of the property Businesses in the hospitality and leisure sectors Local authorities
Extra £100 million to Additional Restrictions Grant (ARG) fund Other businesses impacted by Omicron – such as those who supply the hospitality and leisure sectors Local authorities will have discretion to allocate this funding to businesses most in need. The ARG top-up will be prioritised for those local authorities that have distributed the most of their existing allocation Local authorities
Statutory Sick Pay Rebate Scheme (SSPRS) Small and medium-sized employers Reimbursement of the cost of Statutory Sick Pay for Covid-related absences, for up to two weeks per employee. Firms will be eligible for the scheme from today and they will be able to make claims retrospectively from mid-January
£30m to Culture Recovery Fund Organisations such as museums, theatres, and orchestras


To support organisations through the Winter until March 2022 Culture Recovery Fund

Hospitality and leisure businesses – or others similarly impacted by Omicron – keep an eye on your local authority websites!

As noted above, the business grants will be administered by local authorities and will be available in the coming weeks – likewise with the ARG funding.

I can imagine Cornwall Council is not atypical in terms of where local authorities are with this latest funding. It said today: “Cornwall Council is aware of the announcement made by the Chancellor a short while ago regarding additional support for businesses in the hospitality sector. We are currently awaiting details from the Government on how this will be administered.”

We will look to keep this blog updated, but we would recommend any business that feels they may be eligible for support under these measures to keep an eye on their local authority’s website for more details. In the last round of lockdowns, our local authorities acted quickly in distributing funding. Subsequent payments were made automatically, which may occur again but this is currently unknown.

Click here for further details.

Cultural organisations

For businesses who feel they may be eligible for support under the Cultural Recovery Fund, we recommend you keep tabs on Arts Council website, as this is the organisation that has been administering the Cultural Recovery Fund.

Clearly the Government has been much maligned over the last few months and Rishi is attempting to come to the rescue, probably more in the form of a Prime Minister in waiting than Father Christmas, but this will undoubtedly be a welcome gesture of goodwill for many businesses who have already lost considerable amounts over the festive period.

(*Hospitality businesses defined as accommodation, food and beverage services)

Tom is a partner in the Truro office of PKF Francis Clark with expertise in the tourism and leisure industries. Tom’s leisure sector clients are… read more
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