CoronavirusEconomyGovernmentNews

Sunak unveils £1bn support package for Omicron-hit businesses

As part of the support, businesses in the hospitality and leisure sectors in England will be eligible for one-off grants of up to £6,000 per premises

Chancellor Rishi Sunak has announced a further £1bn support package for businesses impacted by the new Omicron variant.

As part of the support, businesses in the hospitality and leisure sectors in England will be eligible for one-off grants of up to £6,000 per premises.

There will also be more than £100m “discretionary funding” made available for local authorities to support other businesses, and £683m targeted grants for hospitality and leisure businesses in England.

The additional measures will reinforce the existing package of business support, including: business rates relief; 12.5% reduced rate of VAT; the £1.5bn Covid Additional Relief Fund; business protection; access to finance and bounce back loan repayment flexibility.

Around 200,000 businesses will be eligible for business grants which will be administered by local authorities and will be available in the upcoming weeks.

The government said it will also cover the cost of Statutory Sick Pay for Covid-related absences for small and medium-sized employers across the UK, as well as issuing £30m further funding through the Culture Recovery Fund, enabling cultural organisations in England to apply for support during the winter.

Jane Pendlebury, the CEO of the Hospitality Professionals Association (HOSPA) stated the support was a “hugely welcome relief”, and a “generous” package, which the sector is “enormously grateful for”.

Meanwhile Kate Nicholls, CEO of UKHospitality said that the support will help to “secure” jobs and business viability in the short term, especially among small businesses in the sector.

She added: “It is a generous top up emergency fund in addition to previous support and with a commitment from ministers to prioritise hospitality and its supply chain in allocation of funds.”

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