Only 12% of Government Omicron support funds handed to firms

The Government has appealed for more businesses to apply for the grants, stressing that around £850 million worth of funding remains available.

10 February 2022

Only 12% of Government support funding for hospitality and leisure businesses hit by the spread of the Omicron variant has been handed out to firms, according to official figures.

The Government has appealed for more businesses to apply for the grants, stressing that around £850 million worth of funding has yet to be allocated.

This includes £556 million, or 88%, of the £635 million funding pot for the Omicron Hospitality and Leisure Grant (OHLG) scheme.

The scheme was announced by Chancellor Rishi Sunak shortly before Christmas as part of a £1 billion package designed to help parts of the economy particularly impacted by the spread of Omicron and the Government’s Plan B restrictions.

Hospitality, leisure and accommodation businesses were eligible for one-off grants of up to £6,000 per premises.

Last month, councils started to make the funds available for businesses although the new figures from the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy show particularly small amounts of funding have been given out in some areas.

In the South West, only £4.6 million, or 4%, of the £123.9 million available for Omicron grants has been given to businesses.

The figures also showed that only £5.9 million, or 8%, has been handed to London firms out of a £77.5 million pot.

The largest proportion of funding to reach businesses has been in Yorkshire and the Humber, where £13.5 million, or 21%, of available funding has been spent.

Business minister Paul Scully said: “We’re working to get our economy running on all cylinders again so we can focus on making the UK the best place in the world to work and do business, creating jobs along the way.

“Eligible businesses should apply as soon as possible for the grants available to help them put the pandemic behind them and get on a sounder footing to achieve success.”

Alongside the latest Omicron grant money, the Government said there is still a further £294 million available to firms through the Additional Restrictions Grant scheme, which has been open for firms since November 2020.

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