The UK government has begun delivering £700 million of funding for local authorities in England to provide additional financial support and grants to businesses affected by the Omicron Covid-19 variant.
The funding will allow for local councils to begin providing the dedicated support for the hospitality and leisure sector, which has seen decreased footfall and high levels of cancellations in recent weeks due to the spread of the Omicron variant of the virus. The scheme, announced by the Chancellor in December 2021, will allow businesses in these sectors to access a one-off grant of up to £6,000 per premises.
A further £100 million will also be provided to local authorities to continue to provide discretionary grant funding via schemes previously established. These schemes, in addition to the reintroduction of the Statutory Sick Pay Rebate Scheme and extension of the Culture Recovery Fund, will see £1 billion of support for businesses in the wake of the Omicron variant spread.
Business Secretary Kwasi Kwarteng said:
“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 £1 billion 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.”
Rishi Sunak, Chancellor of the Exchequer said:
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 £1 billion package of support to the hundreds of thousands of pubs, restaurants and theatres in need – protecting the millions of people they employ.”
Businesses will be able to apply to their local authority to access the grant funding in the coming weeks.
Cheshire East Council had previously extended the application deadline for its discretionary grant schemes, and has doubled the total amount businesses can receive in support to £10,000.
In a statement on 23rd December 2021, the council set out that it would begin accepting applications for targeted hospitality and leisure sector grants once detailed eligibility guidance had been set out by the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy.
Full details of grants available and how to apply can be found on the Coronavirus pages of the Cheshire East Council website.