Chancellor Rishi Sunak has announced a £1 billion financial support package for businesses struggling with trade amid rising coronavirus cases across the UK.
Support includes £6,000 in one-off grants for each site across the hospitality and leisure sectors in England. This comes as the hospitality sector has been particularly hard-hit as customers cancel bookings and parties over fears of the Omicron variant in the lead up to Christmas.
According to Big Hospitality, over half of venues were down 40 per cent in revenue last weekend alone. And Simply Business research revealed last month that one in five small businesses won’t survive 2022 without a bumper Christmas.
In an announcement on Tuesday, the Treasury offered the following in terms of financial support for businesses:
Included in this announcement, the devolved administrations will receive around £150 million of funding through the Barnett formula. This contributes to the £860 million funding announced earlier this week to help the governments in Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland tackle Covid-19.
The government has stepped in after increasing pressure from business groups to offer financial support as the impact of rising cases and staff shortages is felt across the sector.
Sunak said they were offering further support because: “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.”
Our UK CEO, Alan Thomas, commented: “Small businesses in the leisure and hospitality sector will be breathing a sigh of relief following Rishi Sunak’s announcement of a £1bn support package. Owners in these industries reported a 60 per cent drop in trade in December – usually their busiest month – and the grants will help to offset the effects of rising Omicron cases and reduced trade.
“While this latest financial package will provide a lifeline, it’s vital that support doesn’t end here. More than half of all small businesses say they live in fear of future lockdowns, while one in five owners say their business won’t survive 2022 without a strong December.”
Earlier this year, Simply Business research found that retail, hospitality, and leisure businesses expect to lose £40,000 each on average due to the pandemic. That’s almost double the £22,000 average loss we found for all independent businesses in our Covid-19 impact report.
Thomas adds: “Small businesses are the backbone of our communities and economy, accounting for a third of all employment and contributing trillions of pounds a year in turnover – quite simply we all need them to bounce back. It’s crucial that the government support the self-employed through this latest period of uncertainty."
As this situation is constantly changing, keep an eye on the Knowledge centre and our social channels for the latest information.
Do you think the latest government support goes far enough? Let us know in the comments.
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