Wednesday, January 26

Covid-hit businesses eligible for new Government support scheme


The Chancellor, Rishi Sunak, has come forward with additional help for the hospitality and leisure sectors in England following days of urgent lobbying from MPs, firms and industry officials.

The funding includes one-off grants of up to £6,000 per premises for businesses in the affected sectors in England, which the Treasury expects will be administered by local authorities and to be available in the coming weeks.

The Government also intends to use taxpayers’ cash to cover the cost of statutory sick pay for Covid-related absences for firms with fewer than 250 employees.

Cultural organisations in England can also access a further £30 million funding during the winter via the culture recovery fund, the Treasury said.

Business takings have plummeted because of scaled-back Christmas festivities

Mr Sunak’s announcement follows crisis talks with business leaders after he cut short a Government business trip to California. Businesses have seen takings plummet due to Christmas festivities being scaled back amid fear over the spread of Omicron.

Prime Minister Boris Johnson said of the new funding: “With the surge in Omicron cases, people are rightly exercising more caution as they go about their lives, which is impacting our hospitality, leisure and cultural sectors at what is typically the busiest time of the year.

“That’s why we’re taking immediate action to help with an extra £1 billion in grants to these industries and reintroducing our Statutory Sick Pay Rebate Scheme.”

The devolved administrations will receive around £150 million of funding through the Barnett formula as part of the support announced, the department added. This includes around £80 million for the Scottish Government, £50 million for the Welsh Government and £25 million for the Northern Ireland Executive.

UK Hospitality chief executive Kate Nicholls said: “This is a generous package building on existing hospitality support measures to provide an immediate emergency cash injection for those businesses that, through no fault of their own, have seen their most valuable trading period annihilated.”





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