Financial Support for Businesses Most Impacted by Omicron

23 December 2021 - Elizabeth O'Hanlon

On 21st December, Chancellor of the Exchequer Rishi Sunak announced a funding package worth £1 billion for businesses losing trade due to the coronavirus Omicron variant surge.

Hospitality businesses have seen cancelled bookings and plummeting custom as people have responded to the rise in coronavirus cases. Many businesses have lost 40-60 per cent of their usual December trade, according to Hospitality UK. The government’s funding package will mainly support the hospitality and leisure sectors.

Four Funding Elements

The proposed support package consists of four main elements:

  • Hospitality and leisure grants worth up to £683 million—New one-off grants will be made available for eligible businesses, up to £6,000 per premises. Applications will be administered through local authorities.
  • Additional Restrictions Grant (ARG) cash boost of £102 million—The ARG fund will be bolstered, with local authorities given a funding allocation to help other in-need businesses that may also be impacted by Omicron (such as those who supply the hospitality and leisure sectors).
  • Statutory Sick Pay Rebate Scheme (SSPRS) reintroduced—The SSPRS will be reintroduced from mid-January to reimburse small- and medium-size employers for the cost of Statutory Sick Pay (SSP) for coronavirus-related absences (up to two weeks per employee).
  • Cultural sector funding—Further funding of £30 million will be made available through the Culture Recovery Fund to support organisations such as theatres, orchestras and museums from the winter to March 2022.

Furthermore, the Scottish government will receive £150 million, the Welsh government £50 million and the Northern Ireland executive £25 million under the Barnett formula to offset the England-only spending.

Additional Measures

The new funding is in addition to previously announced measures, including:

  • Business rates relief for eligible businesses, reducing bills by up to 75 per cent this financial year and 50 per cent the next.
  • A 12.5 per cent reduced value added tax (VAT) rate for hospitality and tourism until 31st March 2022.

Further Information

For more information please visit the government website, or contact us today.

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