Omicron grant cash lands with local authorities in England today

07 January 2022 by
Omicron grant cash lands with local authorities in England today

The government has today delivered funding to councils across the country towards one-off Omicron grants for hospitality, leisure and accommodation businesses.

The grant is for those that saw a decline in footfall and increased cancellations ahead of Christmas due to the new variant.

Operators will be able to apply for one-off grants of up to £6,000 per premises depending on rateable value: those with a rateable value of £51,000 or above will be able to apply for the maximum £6,000, while businesses with a rateable value between £15,000 and £51,000 can apply for £4,000, and £2,667 will be available for those with a rateable value of £15,000 or below.

Businesses have been encouraged to apply to their council for the funding, which will be administered "over the coming weeks".

Venues eligible for the grants are those that offer in-person services, where the main service and activity takes place in a fixed rate-paying premises. This includes businesses whose main function is providing a venue for the consumption and sale of food and drink, those that provide facilities linked to recreation and entertainment, as well as businesses whose main premise is used for holiday accommodation.

The government has allocated more than £100m to the Additional Restrictions Grant (ARG) fund for local authorities in England. Other businesses impacted by Omicron, such as those that supply the hospitality and leisure sectors, are able to apply for grants through the ARG. Business secretary Kwasi Kwarteng has written to those local authorities with more than 5% left over from previous ARG funding rounds, instructing them to disburse their remaining funding.

Kwarteng said: "All through the pandemic we have stood by the side of business to ensure they are supported at every stage.

"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 £1b support package.

"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."

Chancellor Rishi Sunak (pictured) added: "We know the Omicron variant has hit our hospitality and leisure businesses – which is why, as we have throughout the pandemic, we stepped in to help.

"From today, local councils will be able to distribute this £1b package of support to the hundreds of thousands of pubs, restaurants and theatres in need – protecting the millions of people they employ."

However, when the grants were announced ahead of Christmas, operators were quick to say that a £6,000, one-off payment would not begin to offset their losses and branded the support package "way off the mark" and said it "would not touch the sides".

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