Covid 19 Economic Support Package for Businesses

The Government announced on 21 December 2021 additional economic support to help businesses who have been most impacted by the Omicron variant.

Two new grant schemes have been introduced to support businesses that are experiencing difficulties. Please note you cannot apply for both schemes.

Omicron Hospitality and Leisure Grant Scheme

The Omicron Hospitality and Leisure Grant scheme provides support to businesses that offer in-person services, where the main service and activity takes place in a fixed rate-paying premises, in the following sectors:

  • hospitality
  • leisure
  • accommodation

Our business categorisation page can help you understand what sector you are in and if you are eligible for this grant.

The Omicron Hospitality and Leisure Grant scheme is for businesses on the Valuation Office Agency (VOA) rating list only (i.e. those businesses who were billed to pay business rates on 30 December 2021). 

This support will take the form of a one-off grant of up to £6,000 paid to hospitality, leisure and accommodation businesses in England. The amount you will receive is defined by the Government based on your businesses rateable value.

Discretionary Business Grant Scheme

Local authorities also received additional funding so they can continue to use their discretion to support other businesses in their area. Solihull Council has received £348,268 of additional funding.

Solihull Council has agreed a policy to support those businesses experiencing significant difficulties as a direct result of the Omicron variant and who are not eligible for the Omicron Hospitality and Leisure Grant.

The discretionary scheme will accept applications from :

  • businesses in the supply chain to hospitality and leisure sectors
  • hospitality, accommodation, and leisure businesses not liable for business rates
  • events businesses not liable for business rates
  • businesses in the travel sector, including those liable for business rates and those who are not

Our business categorisation page can help you understand the types of businesses in the above sectors and if you are eligible to apply for this grant.

Subsidy Allowance

When applying for either of the grants, you will need to read the subsidy allowance guidance to check you meet the requirements and do not exceed the subsidy threshold.

The primary principle of the Omicron Hospitality and Leisure Grant scheme is to support businesses that offer in-person services, where the main service and activity takes place in a fixed rate-paying premises, in the hospitality, leisure and accommodation sectors.

The Omicron Hospitality and Leisure Grant scheme is for businesses on the Valuation Office Agency (VOA) rating list only (i.e. those businesses who were billed to pay business rates on 30 December 2021).  In accordance with government guidance any changes to the rating list (rateable value or to the property) after 30 December 2021 will be ignored for the purposes of eligibility.

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. A list of businesses that fall into scope for hospitality can be found here.

  • 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. A list of businesses that fall into scope for leisure can be found here.

  • 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, tour operators, and gyms and sports businesses where physical exercise or training is conducted on an individual basis or group basis.

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. A list of businesses that fall into scope for accommodation can be found here.

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.

Amounts to be paid

Grants of up to £6,000 will be paid to hospitality, leisure and accommodation businesses in England.  The amount you receive is defined by the Government.  

You can check the rateable value of your business rates property at GOV.UK

  • Businesses occupying premises 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 premises 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 premises 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

Some businesses may receive more than one grant where they have more than one eligible hereditament.

Businesses will only be eligible where their main service falls within hospitality, leisure or accommodation. If a business operates services that could be considered hospitality or leisure, and also fall into another category, the main service can be determined by assessing which category constitutes 50% or more of their overall income.

The main service principle will determine whether a business receives funding. You will need to declare which is your main service.  An example of this could be a non-essential retail shop with a café.

Eligibility Criteria

Which businesses are eligible?

  • The business that according to our records was the business ratepayer in the local rating list in respect of the property on 30 December 2021 will be eligible to receive the Omicron Hospitality and Leisure Grant.
  • Businesses must have been trading on 30 December 2021 to be eligible to receive funding under this scheme. 

For the purposes of this grant scheme, a business is considered to be trading if it is engaged in business activity. This should be interpreted as carrying on a trade or profession, or buying and selling goods or services in order to generate turnover. Fully constituted businesses in liquidation, dissolved, struck off or subject to a striking-off notice are not eligible under these conditions.

Indicators for the purposes of this grant scheme that a business is trading are:

  • The business continues to trade, including online, via delivery services etc.
  • The business is not in liquidation, dissolved, struck off or subject to a striking-off notice or under notice
  • The business is engaged in business activity; managing accounts, preparing for reopening, planning and implementing COVID-safe measures

Which businesses are not eligible?

  • Businesses that are not within the ratings system will not be eligible to receive funding under this scheme (i.e. those who don’t pay business rates on 30 December 2021).
  • 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.

Subsidy Allowances

You will need to read the subsidy allowance guidance to check you meet the requirements of this scheme and do not exceeded the threshold.

Fraud

The Government and Solihull Metropolitan Borough Council 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.

Prepayment checks will be made before paying out all Omicron Hospitality and Leisure Grants.

Scheme Closure

The scheme will close for applications on Monday 28 February 2022 and all final payments will be made and dispersed to applicants by 31 March 2022.

Before you start

You will need the following information to complete this application:

  • Your business rate account number (this can be found on your latest business rates bill. If you do not have this available please email this may delay your application by 10 days).
  • Your Companies House number (if not applicable your Vat registration number/Self-Assessment Unique Taxpayer reference/registered charity number/national insurance number).
  • Your business bank details including your latest bank statement.
  • To have read the information on subsidy allowance on this application to check if you are compliant or are excluded from applying.

Apply for an Omicron Hospitality and Leisure Grant

Scheme Closure

The scheme will close for applications on Monday 28 February 2022 and all final payments will be made and provided to applicants by Thursday 31 March 2022.

Prepayment checks

Prepayment checks will be made before paying out all Omicron Grants.  As part of each application process we will ask you to provide a copy of your business bank statement dated within the last 3 months to verify your claim.

Please note if you do not upload the bank statement with your application your application will automatically be declined.

We aim to pay applicants within 28 days so please only contact us after that time if you haven’t received your payment.

If you need to contact us please have your grant application reference number ready (this will start with OHL).

To be eligible your business must be able to demonstrate a loss of trade/turnover of at least 25% as a direct result of the Omicron variant, this could be as a result of staff absences and/or lower consumer demand. You will be required to explain the impact as part of your application.

You will also be required to confirm your annual business turnover and the number of employees. Please have this information available before starting your application.

Funding for this scheme is limited. The actual level of grants awarded will depend on the number of successful applications received compared to the limited funding that is available.

If you think you are eligible please apply here.

Apply for a Discretionary Business Grant

If your application is successful you will receive an email confirmation telling you the amount of grant your business has been awarded and when payment will be made. Please allow 28 days for a response.

Scheme closure

The scheme will close for applications at 5.00pm on Friday 28 January 2022.

Prepayment checks

Prepayment checks will be made before paying out all Omicron Grants.  As part of each application process we will ask you to provide a copy of your business bank statement dated within the last 3 months to verify your claim.

Please note if you do not upload the bank statement with your application your application will automatically be declined.

If you need to contact us please have your grant application reference number ready (this will start with OARG).