Businesses in the hospitality, leisure, and accommodation sectors, specifically those who offer in-person services, are allowed to apply for grants up to £6,000 to help support them over the coming few months after the Omicron variant caused a decline in footfall and increased cancellations last month.
Businesses with a rateable value of £51,000 or above can apply for the full £6,000, those with a value between £15,000 to £51,000 can apply for a £4,000 grant, and businesses with a value of £15,000 or below can apply for £2,667.
Businesses are able to apply to their council for grant funding which will be administered over the coming weeks with local authorities having the discretion to allocate this funding to businesses they believe are ‘most in need’.
In addition, more than £102m worth of discretionary funding, which falls under the Additional Restrictions Grant (ARG) and is the third round of funding in the scheme, has also been made available for local authorities to support other businesses affected such as those that supply the hospitality and leisure sectors as well as personal care services.
Councils with more than 5% left from previous ARG funding have been contacted by the business secretary instructing them to reimburse the remaining funding.
The government describes the new business grants as ‘generous’ because they are the same size as the monthly grants provided by the government last year when businesses were unable to trade during the third lockdown.
Kwasi Kwarteng, business secretary 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 £1bn 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.’
The funding forms part of the £1bn support package which was announced by Chancellor Rishi Sunak last month.
Included in this, is an additional £30m for the Culture Recovery Fund which supports museums, galleries, and theatres, and the reintroduction of the Statutory Sick Pay Rebate Scheme which reimburses businesses with fewer than 250 employees for the cost of statutory sick pay for Covid-19-related absences.
The UK's devolved administrations have also received £154m of funding to cover all three schemes, with around £80m for Scotland, £50m for Wales, and £25m for Northern Ireland.
In December the Chancellor said he would ‘always respond proportionately and appropriately to the situation we face’ when asked if more funding could be provided.