A new support package has been announced to assist businesses impacted by the Covid-19 Omicron variant. Applications are open to the end of February, but many have said the measures don’t go far enough given the extensive losses suffered in the hospitality and leisure sectors over the festive period.
Although no businesses were legally required to close when the move to Plan B was announced in December, the use of face masks was extended, Covid-19 passes required for some venues and people encouraged to work from home. Combined with advice to limit socialising, these measures led to dramatic falls in the number of people going to pubs, restaurants and shows.
Around 200,000 businesses in the hospitality and leisure sectors in England, such as restaurants, hotels and pubs, are eligible for one-off grants of up to £6,000 on a per-property basis. Businesses must be solvent to qualify. The amount of grant is dependent on the property’s rateable value.
|Rateable value||Amount of grant|
|Up to £15,000||£2,700|
|£15,001 to £51,000||£4,000|
The scheme will close for applications on 28 February, with payments made by 31 March at the latest.
Grants may well be paid automatically, but you should keep an eye on your local authority’s website just in case you need to register to apply. The Chancellor has so far refused to bring back any form of furlough, and – based on previous experience – grants may not be paid to businesses for several weeks.
Extra funding has been made available to the devolved administrations so they can provide similar support.
Some £100 million of discretionary funding has also been provided for English local authorities to support other businesses, such as those who supply the hospitality and leisure sectors, so keep checking your local authority’s website to see what may be on offer as some may allocate funding on a first-come-first-served basis. Additional funding is available to support theatres, museums and orchestras.
Guidance on the new local authority business grants can be found here.