In response to the growing outbreak of the Omicron variant of Covid-19, on 21 December 2021 the UK Government announced a package of additional Government support for those businesses most impacted by the outbreak and the associated newly-introduced restrictions on individuals’ freedoms.

In particular, the following measures are being introduced for businesses in England:

  • Restaurants, bars, cinemas and theatres can apply for a one-off grant of up to £6,000 per premises. The Treasury is setting aside £683 million for these grants, which will be administered via under existing council-run schemes. Applications will open in the coming weeks. As with previous similar grants, the exact amount received will depend on rateable value:
    • Grants of £2,700 for rateable values up to £15,000
    • £4,000 for rateable values up to £51,000
    • £6,000 for rateable values above £51,000
  • Other struggling businesses outside leisure and hospitality can apply to local councils for a different grant under the Additional Restrictions Grant, which has been topped up with £102 million.
  • The Statutory Sick Pay Rebate Scheme is being reintroduced, meaning business with fewer than 250 employees can claim money to cover the cost of Statutory Sick Pay for employees who are affected by Covid, for up to two weeks per employee. Firms will be eligible for the scheme from today and they will be able to make claims retrospectively from mid-January.
  • An extra £30 million will be provided for arts organisations through the existing Culture Recovery Fund.

The devolved administrations will receive around £150 million of additional funding through the Barnett formula, comprising around £80 million for the Scottish Government, £50 million for the Welsh Government and £25 million for the Northern Ireland Executive.

Specific details of application routes and timing will be confirmed in further guidance to be published in due course. In the meantime, the Government has published factsheets summarising further key points for this new support package, available from GOV.UK here (link).