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Following the emergence of the Omicron variant, local authorities have received and distributed funding to support small and medium businesses in England.

New Business Grants

The government has introduced a new grant scheme to support businesses that are experiencing difficulties because of the Omicron variant. Hospitality and leisure premises will benefit from targeted grant support. The Additional Restrictions Grant will also be topped up so local authorities can continue to use their discretion to support other businesses in their area, based on local economic need.

The Additional Restrictions Grant provides local councils with grant funding to support businesses that are severely impacted by coronavirus restrictions and the rise of the Omicron variant, when most needed. Funding was first made available in financial year 2020 to 2021 and can be used across financial years 2020 to 2021 and 2021 to 2022. However local authorities are encouraged to distribute funding to businesses which require support as soon as possible.

Eligibility

Local councils have the freedom to determine the eligibility criteria for these grants. However, funding available will help businesses that are severely impacted by the restrictions and the rise of the Omicron variant.

Local councils are encouraged to support:

  • in allocating the first Additional Restrictions Grant top-up payment: businesses from all sectors that may have been severely impacted by restrictions but were not eligible for the Local Restrictions Support Grant and Closed Business Lockdown Payment Grant schemes
  • in allocating the second 2 Additional Restrictions Grant top-up payments: businesses from all sectors that may have been severely impacted by restrictions but were not eligible for the Restart Grant scheme, and those sectors that remained closed or were severely impacted by extended restrictions, even if those businesses had already been in receipt of Restart Grants
  • in allocating the third Additional Restrictions Grant top-up payment: businesses severely impacted by the rise of the Omicron variant
Businesses excluded from the fund

You cannot get funding if:

  • your business is in administration, insolvent or has been struck off the Companies House register
  • you have exceeded the permitted subsidy allowance

You must notify your local council if your situation changes and you no longer meet the eligibility criteria, for example, if you become insolvent.

Subsidy allowance

This scheme is covered by 3 possible subsidy allowances:

  • Small Amounts of Financial Assistance Allowance – you’re allowed up to £335,000 (subject to exchange rates) in Small Amounts of Financial Assistance over any rolling period of 3 financial years
  • COVID-19 Business Grant Allowance – under this allowance you’re allowed up to £1,900,000 across all COVID-19 Business Grant schemes
  • COVID-19 Business Grant Special Allowance – if you have reached your limits under the Small Amounts of Financial Assistance Allowance and COVID-19 Business Grant Allowance, you may be able to access a further allowance of funding under these scheme rules of up to £10,000,000 across all COVID-19 Business Grant schemes

If your business could be subject to the Northern Ireland Protocol, these Allowances may vary under the State aid rules.

Support via local authorities:

New support for businesses linked to Omicron variant

A package of additional support for businesses impacted by the Omicron variant was announced by the Chancellor on 21 December.

It was confirmed that:

  • businesses in the hospitality and leisure sectors in England will be eligible for a one-off Omicron Hospitality and Leisure Grant (OHLG) of up to £6,000 per premises
  • more than £100 million discretionary funding will be made available for local authorities to support other businesses. Once we receive further information from the government on the Additional Restrictions Grant (ARG) allocation, we will review our discretionary scheme and launch an application process, in line with the government’s guidance and requirements
Omicron Hospitality and Leisure Grant

Many local authorities are developing an application process for the national scheme, based on the government’s guidance. Your local authority/council will be inviting eligible businesses to apply, and the scheme will be open until 28 February 2022. Eligible businesses are those offering in-person services in the hospitality, leisure, and accommodation sectors.

The one-off grant payments to be made to businesses with rateable properties (as at 30 Dec 2021) as follows:

Rateable Value Payment Amount
£15,000 or less £2,667
Over £15,000 and less than £51,000 £4,000
£51,000 or more £6,000

For more information and to check eligibility, please visit:

www.gov.uk/guidance/check-if-youre-eligible-for-the-coronavirus-additional-restrictions-grant

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