13th January, 2022, Melanie Harriss
In response to restrictions imposed, the government have announced Omicron Business Support available to firms in the UK.
Omicron Business Support: Local Authority Grants
The first in a package of Omicron business support is for firms in the hospitality, leisure and accommodation sectors, many of which have seen a decline in footfall and increased cancellations due to the Omicron variant. These businesses are able to apply for one-off grants of up to £6,000 per premises depending on rateable value, via their local authority.
Further funds are also being given to local councils to support other businesses impacted by Omicron, such as those that supply the hospitality and leisure sectors as well as personal care services, these will be administered as Additional Restrictions Grants by local authorities.
Businesses eligible for Local Authority Grants are those that offer in-person services, where the main service and activity takes place in a fixed rate-paying premises, in the hospitality, leisure and accommodation sectors.
This includes businesses whose main function is providing a venue for the consumption and sale of food and drink, those that provide facilities linked to recreation and entertainment, as well as businesses whose main premise is used for holiday accommodation.
In the areas that our offices cover, these can be applied for with North Norfolk District Council, Fenland District Council, Borough Council of King's Lynn and West Norfolk and Great Yarmouth Borough Council.
Omicron Business Support: Statutory Sick Pay Rebate Scheme
Further Omicron business support comes with the reintroduction of the Statutory Sick Pay Rebate Scheme for coronavirus-related absences for small and medium-sized employers.
Businesses could be eligible for support if they employed fewer than 250 employees on 30 November 2021, and have paid Statutory Sick Pay (SSP) to employees for coronavirus-related sickness absences.
Up to two weeks SSP can be claimed, if employees have been paid at the relevant standard weekly rate of £96.35, for any eligible periods of coronavirus-related sickness from 21 December 2021. This is a new claims period.
Businesses could claim to cover the costs for up to two weeks of SSP for an employee who takes time off because of coronavirus, regardless of whether they have claimed for that employee under the previous scheme.
Omicron Business Support: Culture Recovery Fund
Additional Omicron business support is a further £30 million of funding being made available through the Culture Recovery Fund. These grants support cultural organisations that have been affected by the Covid-19 crisis to stay afloat, providing them with support to ensure that they can survive and stay open.
The funding is accessed via Arts Council England.
Omicron Business Support: Time to Pay
HMRC still has its Time to Pay arrangement in place. This can be accessed if you are facing difficulty in making a tax payment; you can make an arrangement to pay what you owe in affordable instalments.
In order to access this support you need to contact HMRC, as arrangements are made on a case-by-case basis.
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