Chief welcomes extra funding after South Tyneside hospitality businesses see 'significant drop-off' amid Omicron fears
Extra funding to help hospitality businesses has been welcomed in South Tyneside after businesses in the borough saw a ‘significant drop-off’ amid fears over the Omicron variant.
Rishi Sunak has offered a £1billion support package to businesses hit amid concerns over the “eye-wateringly high” transmission of the Omicron variant.
The Chancellor has come forward with additional help for the hospitality and leisure sectors in England following days of urgent lobbying from MPs, firms and industry officials.
Businesses nationwide have seen takings plummet due to Christmas festivities being scaled back amid fear over the spread of Omicron.
South Tyneside Council leader Cllr Tracey Dixon, herself a veteran of the hospitality industry, welcomed the funding and said the local authority had already seen businesses in the borough coming forward for financial help.
She said: “We welcome the announcement of further funding and await guidance around our allocation and how the grant will be distributed.
“Behind the scenes, we have been urging Government to release new funding for our local hospitality and leisure businesses which have seen a significant drop-off in demand since the emergence of the Omicron variant.
“Many have approached us for additional financial support, as what should be a busy festive season is becoming yet another crisis period.
“Since the start of the pandemic, we have distributed over £50million in direct grants to business, supporting them through some of the most challenging circumstances. Additional Restrictions Grant (ARG) made up less than 10% of this overall allocation (£5.25million), which to date has been fully allocated.
“We hope this latest funding announcement will enable those struggling businesses to continue to weather the storm of this pandemic.”
The Chancellor’s support package includes one-off grants of up to £6,000 per premises for businesses in the affected sectors in England, which the Treasury expects will be administered by local authorities and to be available in the coming weeks.
The Government also intends to use taxpayers’ cash to cover the cost of statutory sick pay for Covid-related absences for firms with fewer than 250 employees.
Cultural organisations in England can also access a further £30million funding during the winter via the culture recovery fund, the Treasury said.