The Chancellor has announced a £1bn support package including grants for the hospitality sector and a sick pay rebate scheme as omicron variant spreads.
Businesses in the hospitality and leisure sectors in England will be eligible for one-off grants of up to £6,000 per premises, plus more than £100m discretionary funding will be made available for local authorities to support other businesses.
Government will also cover the cost of statutory sick pay for Covid-related absences for small and medium-sized employers across the UK.
As hospitality is hit by a sharp decline in business with a decline of up to 60% in December trade, the government has been forced to step in with financial support.
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.
The grants are equivalent to the monthly cash grants provided to hospitality businesses when they were fully closed earlier this year, despite businesses now being still able to trade.
To provide continued support to the cultural sector, £30m 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. This follows the closure of many theatres as cast are hit by covid.
The government also said that HMRC is ready to support any business impacted by the coronavirus pandemic through its Time to Pay arrangement, and the Chancellor has asked them to offer businesses in the hospitality and leisure sectors in particular the option of a short delay, and payment in instalments, on a case by case basis, as part of this.
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