This afternoon, the Chancellor announced a £1 billion package of support for businesses affected by the spread of the Omicron variant. The package includes:

  • £683 million for targeted grants for hospitality and leisure businesses in England. Individual businesses will be eligible for a one-off grant of up to £6,000 per premises.
  • £102 million for local authorities to support other businesses (e.g. events or wholesalers) as part of the Additional Restrictions Grant in England.
  • £30 million to help the arts sector via for Culture Recovery Fund in England.
  • £155 million of funding for the devolved nations to cover all three of the above, with about £80 million going to the Scottish Government, £50 million to the Welsh and £25 million to Northern Ireland.

Almost 200,000 businesses will be eligible for business grants, which will be available in the coming weeks through local authorities.

The Chancellor also confirmed that the Government would cover the cost of Statutory Sick pay for Covid-related absences for small and medium-sized employers – those with fewer than 250 employees – and cultural organisations in England.

The Chancellor, Rishi 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.”