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Monday, June 27, 2022

Chancellor announces £1bn funds for businesses

Additional support will be available for businesses who have been impacted by the Omicron variant, the Chancellor, Rishi Sunak announced today.

Speaking at lunchtime today, Chancellor of the Exchequer Rishi Sunak has unveiled a £1bn fund including cash grants of up to £6,000 per premises for each eligible firm.
He said the government would also help certain firms with the cost of sick pay for Covid-related absences.
The chancellor also announced an extra £30m to help theatres and museums.
He said the “generous” new support recognised the situation many hospitality and leisure businesses faced in the run-up to Christmas.
However, the chancellor didn’t disclose whether the government will reintroduce furlough or whether further help will come should more restrictions be announced, as ministers come under pressure to tackle the rapid rise of the Omicron variant.

At what is often their most profitable time of year, many pubs and restaurants have seen cancellations and reduced footfall as people have responded to the rise in cases ahead of Christmas.

Leading hospitality trade association, Hospitality UK, has reported that many businesses have lost 40-60% of their December trade, often their most profitable month.

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.

Chancellor Sunak said: “We recognise that the spread of the Omicron variant means businesses in the hospitality and leisure sectors are facing huge uncertainty, at a crucial time.

“So we’re stepping in with £1 billion of support, including a new grant scheme, the reintroduction of the Statutory Sick Pay Rebate Scheme and further funding released through the Culture Recovery Fund.

“Ultimately the best thing we can do to support businesses is to get the virus under control, so I urge everyone to get boosted now.”

Prime minister, Boris Johnson said: “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.

“I urge people across the country to please get boosted now to secure vital protection for yourselves, your loved ones and your communities.”

To support other businesses impacted by Omicron – such as those who supply the hospitality and leisure sectors – the government is also giving a more than £100 million boost to the Additional Restrictions Grant (ARG) fund for local authorities in England.

Local Authorities will have the discretion to allocate this funding to businesses most in need. The ARG top-up will be prioritised for those local authorities that have distributed most of their existing allocation. This is on top of the £250 million of previously allocated funding that remains with local authorities.

As increasing numbers of Covid-19 cases means 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 today and they will be able to make claims retrospectively from mid-January.

To provide continued support to the cultural sector, £30 million further funding will be made available through the Culture Recovery Fund to support organisations such as theatres, orchestras and museums through the winter to March 2022.

The UK Government is working closely with counterparts in the devolved administrations and businesses across all parts of the UK.

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