Grants for hospitality and leisure businesses

The Chancellor has announced that businesses in the hospitality and leisure sectors in England will be eligible for one-off grants of up to £6,000 per premises.

The grant funding is to support businesses that are experiencing difficulties because of the Omicron variant, and the dual impact of staff absences and lower consumer demand over the festive period.

Government also announced that more than £100 million discretionary funding will be made available through an Additional Restrictions Grant top-up for local authorities to support other businesses.

To read more on all these schemes, visit our information page here.

Statutory Sick Pay Rebate Scheme (SSPRS)

As increasing numbers of Covid-19 cases means more workers taking time off work, the government is reintroducing the Statutory Sick Pay Rebate Scheme (SSPRS).

The SSPRS will help small and medium-sized employers by reimbursing them for the cost of Statutory Sick Pay for Covid-related absences, for up to 2 weeks per employee. Firms will be eligible for the scheme from 21st December 2021 and they will be able to make claims retrospectively from mid-January. More guidance will be published by Government soon.

Employers will be eligible for the scheme if:

1. They are UK-based.
2. They employed fewer than 250 employees as of 30 November 2021.
3. They had a PAYE payroll system as off 30 November 2021.
3. They have already paid their employees’ COVID-related SSP.

£1m fund for arts, culture and heritage

The arts, culture and heritage sector in South Yorkshire is set to receive a boost with the announcement from the South Yorkshire Mayoral Combined Authority (SYMCA) of funding worth £1m.

The Fund is part of South Yorkshire’s ARG (Additional Restrictions Grant), which has so far provided South Yorkshire businesses with over £45m of support during the pandemic.

The £1m Funding will be managed by South Yorkshire’s local authorities, who will distribute the fund through the commissioning of cultural events, activities or projects, with some businesses potentially eligible for micro grants.

Find out more here. 

Future Fund: Breakthrough

A £375m scheme to drive investment in the UK’s most high growth, innovative and R&D intensive firms is now available.

The government will co-invest with private investors to help scale-up innovations across UK industries including life sciences and clean technology – driving economy and creating jobs.

To be eligible, businesses must have commitments of 70% of an investment round from private investors with a track record of financing innovative companies – such as venture capitalists.

More information can be found on the British Patient Capital website

Help to Grow programme

The government’s Help to Grow programme helps small and medium sized businesses to learn new skills, reach new customers and boost profits. 

Businesses can get: 

  • an Executive Development programme that could help you improve business performance and growth potential through Help to Grow: ManagementThe Government will subsidise the costs of training and support through the scheme by 90%. 
  • free online advice and up to £5,000 off software that could help you save time and cut costs through Help to Grow: Digital 

The Management strand launched in June. Find a course near you and register for Help to Grow: Management here.

The Digital strand launches in the autumn. Register your interest in Help to Grow: Digital here.

Recovery Loan Scheme

This loan scheme is aimed at supporting UK businesses as they grow and recover from the disruption of the COVID-19 pandemic. The Recovery Loan Scheme has replaced the Bounceback and CBILs loan schemes, which means that businesses of any size can continue to access loans now the previous COVID-19 loan schemes have closed.  

The government will provide an 80% guarantee to lenders to allow businesses to access loans from £25,000 up to £10m.  The scheme will be open to all businesses, including those who have received support from the previous loan schemes. 

The finance can be used for any legitimate business purpose, including growth and investment. 

The scheme launched on 6 April and is open until 31 December, subject to review. Loans are available through a network of accredited lenders 

 Find out more on the government website. 

VAT reduction and deferral

It was announced in the budget that the temporary reduced rate of VAT at 5% for businesses in the tourism and hospitality sector will be extended until 30 September.

From 1st October, the VAT rate will increase to 12.5% before returning to the standard rate of VAT from April 2022.

Businesses that took advantage of the VAT deferral on VAT returns from March to June 2020 can now opt to pay the deferred VAT in instalments from March 2021, rather than pay the deferred VAT in a single payment.

Businesses that wish to pay in instalments must apply for the VAT Deferral New Payment Scheme.  It was also stated that VAT thresholds will not change before 1 April 2024.

To pay VAT deferred due to coronavirus, visit the government website.

Business rates

The Chancellor has announced that the business rates relief has been extended and then discounted.

For eligible retail, hospitality and leisure businesses and nurseries there is a 100% relief on business rates from April to 30 June 2021.

From July, eligible businesses will have their rates discounted by two thirds (66%) until 31st March 2022.

Your local council should apply the discount automatically so contact them if you’re not getting a relief you think you’re entitled to. Find out more here.

Insurance pay outs for small businesses

Thousands of small businesses with business interruption insurance policies will receive pay-outs from their insurance company to cover losses from the first national lockdown.

During the lockdown of last spring, many businesses had their claims refused by insurers on the basis that only specialist policies covered such unprecedented restrictions.

However, a selection of policy wordings has been tested in court, with the Supreme Court ruling largely in favour of small businesses.

If your business had business interruption insurance cover before the first national lockdown in March 2020, now would be the time to get in touch with your insurance provider to make a claim.

UK Export Finance (UKEF)

UK Export Finance provides financial support for businesses exporting goods and services.

The Export Working Capital Scheme provides partial guarantees up to 80% of a loan to help UK exporters access working capital finance for specific export-related contracts.

The Direct Lending Facility Scheme loans within an overall limit of £8 billion to overseas buyers, allowing them to finance the purchase of capital goods and/or services from UK exporters. The loans can be made in up to eight currencies, with a value limit of £200 million and a fixed rate of interest.

Enquiries for the two options can be sent by email to: customer.service@ukexportfinance.gov.uk.

COVID-19 Corporate Financing Facility (CCFF)

The COVID-19 Corporate Financing Facility (CCFF) closed to new purchases on 23 March 2021. Under this scheme the Bank of England bought short-term debt from large companies beginning in March 2020.

Find out more here.