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Grants to support businesses hit by Omicron surge

Published on Friday, January 28, 2022

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TWO new grant schemes are offering support for hospitality, leisure and accommodation businesses whose trade was affected by the recent surge in Omicron coronavirus cases.

The grants are administered by Leicester City Council on behalf of the Government, to support city hospitality, leisure and accommodation businesses. Businesses must apply to get the grants and those who are eligible are being encouraged to apply as soon as possible.

The Omicron Hospitality and Leisure Grant (OHLG) is available to hospitality, leisure and accommodation businesses which were offering in-person services on the premises, and were the direct ratepayer and trading on 30 December 2021.

It includes businesses such as restaurants, pubs, cafes, cinemas, casinos, art galleries, tourist attractions, event venues, nightclubs, theatres, hotels and B&Bs. The eligible businesses are determined by the Government and a full list is available online.

The exact amount of grant depends on the rateable value of the business premises, and ranges from £2,667 to £6,000. It is a one-off payment.

The city council estimates that around 1,000 local businesses are eligible for the grant, and has contacted many of them. Grants totalling £1.25m have already been paid.

A discretionary grant fund has been set up by the council using £675,000 of Government funding. This is called the Omicron additional restrictions grant. This is sufficient to award grants to between 200 and 250 businesses whose trade has been affected by the Omicron surge, but which are not eligible for the OHLG.

These discretionary grants are available to sole traders and micro/small/medium-sized businesses occupying business premises subject to business rates. The business must be trading and does not have to be the direct ratepayer. The types of business that can apply are:

  • Hospitality, leisure and accommodation businesses, which are not the direct ratepayer
  • Travel agents and tour operators
  • Hospitality and leisure businesses that have been supported by the council through previous discretionary grants, such as marquee hire, coach hire and coach tour operators, event caterers, event operators and local breweries
  • Suppliers to the leisure, hospitality, events and accommodation sectors; and
  • Gym and sports businesses.

Again, the exact amount of grant depends on the rateable value of the business premises, and ranges from £2,667 to £6,000.

Leicester City Mayor Peter Soulsby said: “We know that the surge in Omicron cases affected many businesses across the city, particularly during what would normally have been a busy time in the run-up to Christmas. These grants can provide much-needed financial support.

“We have tailored our own discretionary grant to address some of the gaps in eligibility, carefully considering which business types and business sectors can be supported with this limited funding. Whilst the money from the Government is of course very welcome, it is not enough to support all the businesses across the city that have been affected.

“I’d urge businesses to check whether they are eligible and, if so, make sure they claim the help to which they are entitled as soon as possible.”

The closing date for both schemes is 18 March, although the discretionary scheme will close earlier if all the £675,000 funding is allocated - so the sooner eligible businesses apply, the better.

For more details and to apply online, visit: https://www.leicester.gov.uk/your-council/coronavirus/advice-and-support-for-businesses/

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