Due to the impact that the spread of the Omicron variant and Plan B restrictions have had on many businesses across the UK, specifically in city centres, The Chancellor has today announced new support measures for those businesses most impacted.
These measures, for hospitality & leisure businesses only, include:
- £1 billion in support for businesses most impacted by Omicron across the UK
- Businesses in the hospitality and leisure sectors will be eligible for one-off grants of up to £6,000 per premises, plus more than £100 million 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.
- £30 million further funding will be made available through the Culture Recovery Fund, enabling more cultural organisations in England to apply for support during the winter.
These additional measures will reinforce the existing package of business support, including:
- Business rates relief meaning that the majority of businesses in the hospitality and leisure sectors will see a 75% reduction in their business rates bill across the entire financial year and a new 50% capped business rates relief next financial year.
- A 12.5% reduced rate of VAT for hospitality and tourism to support the cash flow and viability of around 150,000 businesses and protect over 2.4 million jobs, until the end of March.
- The £1.5 billion Covid Additional Relief Fund for businesses that have not previously had business rates support.
- Businesses will be protected from eviction if they are behind on rent on their premises, thanks to the moratorium in place until March 2022.
- Access to finance for SMEs through the Recovery Loan Scheme to June; and Bounce Back Loan repayment flexibility, with borrowers having the option to take a 6 month repayment holiday, three 6 month interest only periods or extend their loan to 10 years, which almost halves the monthly payment.
- Support for the aviation and travel sectors, including over £12 billion since the beginning of the pandemic, and the Airport and Ground Operations Support Scheme (AGOSS) until the end of March 2022.
Commenting on the new measures, Chief Executive Jace Tyrrell said:
“With people increasingly staying home in the wake of rising cases, retail and leisure businesses are facing a bleak festive season. Having made significant investments in their winter operations in the hope of a bumper Christmas to make up for the last 20 months, to see empty streets is a hammer blow.
“While the Government has pledged some financial support for hospitality & leisure, it is simply not enough. There is no relief for the retail industry which has been equally hard hit by a lack of footfall. The Treasury must wake up to the fact that viable businesses will be forced to permanently close their doors unless more robust temporary measures are put in place to ease the financial pressure.”
Earlier this week, alongside a number of Business Improvement Districts and town centre management partners, we wrote to the Prime Minister & the Chancellor to ask for urgent assurances that financial support will be provided to retail, hospitality & leisure businesses as part of our #BusinessBooster campaign. Click here to read the full letter and see further coverage in City AM.
New West End Company, alongside our #BusinessBooster campaign partners, we will continue to call for further support including:
- An increase of business rates relief, from the current 25% discount to 100% discount, for the first three months of 2022, followed by tapering support of 50% Business Rate Relief from 1 April 2022 through to 30 June 2022.
- An extension to VAT reduction, to 31 March 2023 at 12.5%, to allow the hospitality, retail and leisure sector to respond and support the re-emergence of the UK economy.
- Grants up to £15,000 by rateable value to businesses within the hospitality, retail and leisure sector to enable them to survive in light of a festive trading period in tatters, a bleak outlook for the new Year and the impending rent quarter date of 25 December 2021.