Omicron: £1billion package of support announced for businesses impacted by new Covid wave

File photo dated 04/10/21 of Chancellor of the Exchequer Rishi SunakFile photo dated 04/10/21 of Chancellor of the Exchequer Rishi Sunak
File photo dated 04/10/21 of Chancellor of the Exchequer Rishi Sunak
Chancellor Rishi Sunak has pledged £1billion in support to help businesses who have been forced to close or lost trade as a result of Omicron.

Pubs, restaurants, and other leisure businesses will be able to claim up to £6,000 each in compensation lost takings over the Christmas period.

Theatres across the country have had to delay shows and pantomimes during what should be the most profitable time of the year, so an extra £30million will be made available through the Cultural Recovery fund.

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Money will be handed out via local authorities and the Treasury say it should be available “in the coming weeks”.

Small and medium businesses will also have the cost of sick pay for Covid-related absences covered by the public purse.

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The news comes after days of intense pressure on Government and the Prime Minister from businesses, who have been hit hard by people choosing to stay at home rather than risk infection over the festive season.

Boris Johnson said: “With the surge in Omicron cases, people are rightly exercising more caution as they go about their lives, which is impacting our hospitality, leisure and cultural sectors at what is typically the busiest time of the year.

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“That’s why we’re taking immediate action to help with an extra £1 billion in grants to these industries and reintroducing our Statutory Sick Pay Rebate Scheme.

“I urge people across the country to please get boosted now to secure vital protection for yourselves, your loved ones and your communities.”

Mr 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.

“Ultimately the best thing we can do to support businesses is to get the virus under control, so I urge everyone to Get Boosted Now.”

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