Omicron Hospitality and Leisure Grant

On 21 December 2021, Government announced the introduction of grant support for hospitality and leisure businesses in England. See announcement here: https://www.gov.uk/government/news/1-billion-in-support-for-businesses-most-impacted-by-omicron-across-the-uk

The scheme provides support to hospitality, leisure and accommodation businesses, in recognition that the rise of the Omicron variant means that some businesses are likely to struggle.

This support will take the form of a one-off grant funding scheme. Funding to be made available in Financial Year 2021-2022 and can be used in Financial Year 21/22 only. The scheme will close for applications on 28 February 2022 and all final payments must be made and dispersed to recipients by 31 March 2022.

General Eligibility

The Omicron Hospitality & Leisure Grant scheme is for businesses on the ratings list only.

Any changes to the rating list (rateable value or to the hereditament) after 30 December 2021 should be ignored for the purposes of eligibility. Local Authorities are not required to adjust, pay where the rating list is subsequently amended retrospectively to 30 December 2021.

Businesses must have been trading on 30 December 2021to be eligible to receive funding under this scheme.

Who will be eligible?

Hospitality

For the purposes of this scheme, a hospitality business can be defined as a business whose main function is to provide a venue for the consumption and sale of food and drink:

  • Businesses offering in-person food and drink services to the general public.
  • Businesses that provide food and/or drink to be consumed on the premises, including outdoors.

For these purposes, the definition of a hospitality business should exclude:

Food kiosks and businesses whose main service (generating 50% or more of income) is a takeaway (not applicable to those that have adapted to offer takeaways during periods of restrictions, in alignment with previous COVID-19 business grant schemes).

Leisure

For the purposes of this scheme, a leisure business can be defined as a business that provides opportunities, experiences and facilities, in particular for culture, recreation, entertainment, celebratory events and days and nights out:

  • Businesses that may provide in-person intangible experiences in addition to goods.
  • Businesses that may rely on seasonal labour.
  • Businesses that may assume particular public safety responsibilities.
  • Businesses that may operate with irregular hours through day, night and weekends.

For these purposes, the definition of a leisure business should exclude: all retail businesses, coach tour operators, and tour operators.

Accommodation

For the purposes of this scheme, an accommodation business can be defined as a business whose main lodging provision is used for holiday, travel or other purposes:

  • Businesses that provide accommodation for ‘away from home’ stays for work or leisure purposes.
  • Businesses that provide accommodation for short-term leisure and holiday purposes.

For these purposes, the definition of an accommodation business should exclude: private dwellings, education accommodation, residential homes, care homes, residential family centres and beach huts.

Further exclusions to all grant eligibility

  • Businesses that are not within the ratings system will not be eligible to receive funding under this scheme.
  • Businesses that have already received grant payments that equal the maximum permitted subsidy allowances will not be eligible to receive funding.
  • Businesses that are in administration, insolvent or where a striking-off notice has been made, are not eligible for funding under this scheme.

How much will you receive

Omicron Hospitality and Leisure Grant is a one-off grant of up to £6,000 The following thresholds apply for these businesses:

  • Businesses occupying hereditaments appearing on the local rating list with a rateable value of exactly £15,000 or under on 30 December 2021 will receive a payment of £2,667.
  • Businesses occupying hereditaments appearing on the local rating list with a rateable value over £15,000 and less than £51,000 on 30 December 2021 will receive a payment of £4,000.
  • Businesses occupying hereditaments appearing on the local rating list with a rateable value of exactly £51,000 or over on 30 December 2021 will receive a payment of £6,000.

The grant payment is subject to Tax

  • Grant income received by a business is taxable. The Restart Grant will need to be included as income in the tax return of the business.
  • Only businesses that make an overall profit once grant income is included will be subject to tax.
  • Unincorporated businesses will be taxed when they receive the grant income.

Pre-payment checks

The local authority is required to undertake a number of pre payment checks.

This is a stricter position than that taken for previous COVID-19 business support grant schemes.

The Government will not accept deliberate manipulation and fraud. Any business caught falsifying their records to gain additional grant money will face prosecution and any funding issued will be recovered, as may any grants paid in error.

These checks include:

Using the Government tool ‘spotlight’ tool which will flag where organisations have recently become inactive.

Using a counter fraud bank account checker in partnership with Experian. This tool will enable Local Authorities to:

  • A verify the bank accounts of companies in receipt of these business grants; and
  • provide insight into whether the company was trading at the relevant date for these grants.

The application closure date for this scheme is 28 February 2022 and final payments must be made by 31 March 2022.

Due to the additional checks the Local Authority has to make and the volume of applications we are expecting we are aiming on assessing applications within 15 working days.

How to apply

Before you apply, please ensure that you are rated for business rates payment.

You will also need to have the following to hand:

  • business rates reference number
  • postcode
  • Company Number (registered with Companies House), VAT Number or Charity Number
  • a copy of a bank statement that can be uploaded to your application.