Businesses encouraged to apply for Omicron grants as Government delivers funding to local authorities

By James McAllister

- Last updated on GMT

Hospitality businesses encouraged to apply for Omicron grants as Government delivers funding to local authorities

Related tags Coronavirus Government grants

Hospitality businesses in England are being urged to engage with their council and apply for funding by the Government after it delivered £700m worth of grants to local authorities.

Firms in the hospitality, leisure and accommodation sectors, which have seen severe declines in footfall and increased cancellations due to the impact of the Omicron Covid variant, will be able to apply for one-off grants of up to £6,000 per premises.

Businesses with a rateable value of £51,000 or above will be able to apply for the maximum £6,000; those with a rateable value between £15,000 and £51,000 can apply for £4,000; and businesses with a rateable value of £15,000 or below can receive £2,667

In addition, more than £100m worth of discretionary funding is also being made available for local authorities to support other businesses.

The grant funding forms part of a £1bn support package which includes an additional £30m for the Culture Recovery Fund and reintroducing the Statutory Sick Pay Rebate Scheme - reimbursing eligible businesses for the cost of Statutory Sick Pay for Covid-related absences.

"The spread of the Omicron variant is presenting new challenges, particularly for the hospitality and leisure sectors, so it’s only right that we are stepping up with an urgent £1bn support package," says Kwasi Kwarteng, Business Secretary.

"I urge businesses to come forward, engage with their local council and tap into these cash grants, which will help to cover costs and protect jobs as we double down on our efforts to get boosted and defeat this virus."

Announced just before Christmas​, the grant support was met with a lukewarm reception​ by the hospitality industry.

Gaucho and M Restaurants CEO Martin Williams said the package was 'too little, too late' and would 'only act as a sticking plaster on major challenges for the sector'.

D&D London CEO Des Gunewardena assessment was more damning, describing the figure of £6,000 per site as 'wholly and shockingly inadequate'.

Earlier this week it was reported that pubs, bars and restaurants lost £10,335 on average in the week leading up to Christmas​ with takings on Christmas Day down 60% compared to 2019.

Restaurants and pubs across the UK reported huge numbers of cancellations​ in the week leading up to Christmas, with many forced to close early​ for the festive holidays.

The Government is encouraging businesses to apply to their council for grant funding, which will be administered over the coming weeks. For more information on the support available, click here​. 

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