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Chancellor announces £1bn support package for hospitality businesses

Chancellor of the Exchequer Rishi Sunak has announced today, 21 December, a £1bn support package to help businesses hit by the rise in Covid-19 cases, including the hospitality sector. 

The package, which includes additional help for the hospitality and leisure sectors, includes one-off grants of up to £6,000 per premises for businesses in England.

Sunak said the government would also help certain businesses with the cost of sick pay for Covid-related absences.

Non-hospitality and leisure related businesses can apply for some of the funding.

UKHospitality CEO Kate Nicholls said the association welcomes the announcement: “This is a generous package building on existing hospitality support measures to provide an immediate emergency cash injection for those businesses who, through no fault of their own, have seen their most valuable trading period annihilated. 

“It will help to secure jobs and business viability in the short term, particularly among small businesses in the sector, and we particularly welcome the boost to funds for the supply chain and event and business catering companies so badly affected by the reintroduction of work from home guidelines."

Kerrin MacPhie, chief executive of the mia, said: “While today’s announcement of a £1bn fund for hospitality is a welcome start to recognising the current state of affairs, we cannot afford to look at this at face value. With cash grants of up to £6,000 available to eligible organisations, this is a drop in the ocean for an industry that has been crippled once more in response to Omicron announcements and the subsequent drop in business confidence." 

Juliet Price, consultant executive director of the Hotel Booking Agents Association (HBAA), said £6,000 may be helpful to small businesses but it won’t sustain larger venues or agencies with "greater liabilities and no appreciable income in sight for most of Q1 next year.” 

Price said: The Chancellor’s grants are in principle, welcome. But we wait to see the ‘small print’ to see how many of our 200 plus member organisations will be eligible for them."