£1 billion in support for businesses most impacted by Omicron across the UK
In response to the rapid spread of the Omicron variant, the Chancellor, Rishi Sunak has announced there will be an additional £1 billion support available to businesses in the UK who are most impacted.
One-off hospitality grants
Recognising that this time of year is often the most profitable for many hospitality businesses and that those businesses are most likely to be impacted by cancellations and reduced footfall, the government is providing one-off grants of up to £6,000 per premises for businesses in the hospitality and leisure sectors in England.
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.
Additional Restrictions Grant (ARG) fund
To support other businesses impacted by Omicron – such as those who supply the hospitality and leisure sectors – the government is also giving a boost of more than £100 million to the Additional Restrictions Grant (ARG) fund for local authorities in England.
Local Authorities will have discretion to allocate this funding to businesses most in need.
Statutory Sick Pay Rebate Scheme (SSPRS)
Furthermore, with the rise in Covid-19 cases resulting in more workers taking time off work, the government is also reintroducing the Statutory Sick Pay Rebate Scheme (SSPRS).
The SSPRS will help small and medium-sized employers – those with fewer than 250 employees – by reimbursing them for the cost of Statutory Sick Pay for Covid-related absences, for up to 2 weeks per employee. Firms will be eligible for the scheme from 21 December 2021 and they will be able to make claims retrospectively from mid-January.
Existing business support
The new measures mentioned above will be in addition to the existing business support currently in place. If your business is struggling, please read the following list and ensure you seek these other measures of support, where applicable:
- business rates relief meaning that the majority of businesses in the hospitality and leisure sectors will see a 75% reduction in their business rates bill across the entire financial year and a new 50% capped business rates relief next financial year;
- a 12.5% reduced rate of VAT for hospitality and tourism to support the cash flow and viability of around 150,000 businesses and protect over 2.4 million jobs, until the end of March;
- the £1.5 billion Covid Additional Relief Fund for businesses that have not previously had business rates support;
- businesses will be protected from eviction if they are behind on rent on their premises, thanks to the moratorium in place until March 2022;
- access to finance for SMEs through the Recovery Loan Scheme to June; and
- Bounce Back Loan repayment flexibility, with borrowers having the option to take a 6-month repayment holiday, three 6-month interest only periods or extend their loan to 10 years, which almost halves the monthly payment.
Author: Alan Taylor FCCA
A former pupil at Ripley St Thomas C of E High School in Lancaster, Alan joined Scott & Wilkinson directly from school in 1994 and qualified as an Accountant in 2001. Alan is the Partner with responsibility for the day-to-day...
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