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New support for hospitality, retail and leisure tenants

21st December 2021

Business rates relief and COVID support grants will become available to eligible business tenants.

Rishi Sunak has announced that a £1 billion support package has been created for firms most impacted by Omicron.

Around 200,000 businesses in the hospitality and leisure sectors, in England, will be eligible for one-off grants of up to £6,000 per business premises, plus more than £100 million of discretionary funds. The grants will be administered by local authorities and will be made available in the coming weeks.

The Government will also cover the cost of Statutory Sick Pay for COVID-related absences for small and medium-sized employers across the UK.

Additionally, £30 million of further funding will be made available through the Culture Recovery Fund, enabling more cultural organisations in England to apply for support during the winter.

“At what is often their most profitable time of year, many pubs and restaurants have seen cancellations and reduced footfall as people have responded to the rise in cases ahead of Christmas, with Hospitality UK reporting that many businesses have lost 40-60% of their December trade.”

Moreover, as highlighted in October’s Budget announcement, a business rates relief scheme for retail, hospitality and leisure properties (worth almost £1.7 billion in 2022/23) has been rolled-out to support high streets and town centres.

The scheme will provide eligible, occupied, retail, hospitality and leisure properties with a rates relief of 50%, up to a cash cap limit of £110,000 per business.

Retail, hospitality and leisure premises must be occupied and be mainly used:

  • as shops, restaurants, cafes, drinking establishments, cinemas or live music venues
  • for assembly and leisure; or
  • as hotels, guest & boarding premises or self-catering accommodation

The Government have confirmed the following will not qualify for rates relief:

  • Financial services (e.g. banks, building societies, cash points, bureaux de change, short-term loan providers, betting shops)
  • Medical services (e.g. vets, dentists, doctors, osteopaths, chiropractors)
  • Professional services (e.g. solicitors, accountants, insurance agents/ financial advisers, employment agencies, estate agents, letting agents)
  • Post office sorting offices

Additionally, guidance has been released that addresses the extension of transitional relief scheme and the supporting small business relief scheme for small and medium properties.

This is essentially an extension for one year to the end of the current revaluation cycle.

The scheme will restrict increases in rates bills to 15% for businesses with small properties (up to and including a £20,000 rateable value/a £28,000 rateable value in London) and 25% for medium properties (up to and including a £100,000 rateable value).

In addition, the Government has also announced its Omicron Hospitality and Leisure Grant scheme, aimed at supporting businesses in the hospitality, leisure and accommodation sectors, “in recognition [of the fact that] the rise of the Omicron variant means that some business are likely to struggle”.

To find out more about the Omicron Hospitality and Leisure Grant scheme click here.

With increasing pressure being placed on the Government, many are expecting the Chancellor to announce more support initiatives to counter the impact of rising case numbers.

Rishi Sunak concluded his recent announcement by stating:

“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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