On 21 December 2021, the United Kingdom (UK) Chancellor of the Exchequer, Rishi Sunak, announced that additional financial support will be available for those businesses impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic. The support will total GBP 1 billion and will include the following:
- one-off grants of up to GBP 6,000 per premise, for businesses in the hospitality and leisure sectors in England (totaling GBP 683 million);
- the statutory sick pay rebate scheme for COVID-19 related absences for small and medium-sized (SMEs) employers (i.e. fewer than 250 employees) across the UK;
- GBP 30 million further funding through the culture recovery fund for cultural organizations in England; and
- a GBP 102 million boost to the additional restrictions grant (ARG) fund for local authorities in England with respect to businesses in the hospitality and leisure sector.
Around 200,000 businesses will be eligible for business grants, which will be administered by local authorities and will be available in the coming weeks.
GBP 154 million of the support announced will be allocated to the devolved administrations in Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland.
This GBP 1 billion support will reinforce the existing package of COVID-19 related measures, including, among others, the business rates relief, reduced value added tax (VAT) rates, the COVID-19 additional relief fund, protection from eviction, loan repayment flexibility, the time-to-pay arrangement and loan repayment flexibilities.