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Coronavirus Economic Support Package

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What is the Business Support?

The government has announced further support to help businesses with the impacts of the Omicron variant, the support includes New Business Grants as well as the Statutory Sick Pay Rebate Scheme (SSPRS). Please see further details below:


New Business Grants

The government is introducing a new grant scheme to support businesses that are experiencing difficulties because of the Omicron variant, and the dual impact of staff absences and lower consumer demand.

  • Beneficiaries: 

Hospitality (defined as accommodation, food & beverage services) and leisure premises will benefit from targeted grant support. The Additional Restrictions Grant (ARG) will also be topped up so local authorities (LAs) can continue to use their discretion to support other businesses in their area, based on local economic need.

  • Design and eligibility criteria: 

£1 billion of grants for businesses impacted by Omicron across the UK.

Nearly £700 million of targeted grants for hospitality and leisure businesses in England.

Recipients must be solvent businesses, and ratepayers in the hospitality and leisure sector. For example, a pub; hotel; restaurant; bar; cinema; or amusement park.

Grants are per premises and the amount paid is varied by rateable value (RV) of each eligible premises, in three bands: £0-15k; £15-51k; and over £51k.

This scheme will cost £683 million.

Over £100 million of discretionary funding for local authorities in England:

  • Duration of scheme:

Final application and payment dates for the hospitality and leisure grants and the ARG will be confirmed in guidance published by BEIS. The further funding made available through the Culture Recovery Fund will support the sector until March 2022. Further details on how organisations can access funding will be set out in due course.

  • Compliance measures:

Businesses that are in administration, insolvent or where a striking-off notice has been made, are not eligible for funding under this scheme. The government 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 have paid in error. LAs are responsible and accountable for the lawful use of funds and must be satisfied that all eligibility and subsidy allowance conditions have been fully complied with when making grant payments. To do this, LAs will be expected to have pre- and post-payment assurance plans in place and undertake a Fraud Risk Assessment.


Statutory Sick Pay Rebate scheme (SSPRS)

The government is reintroducing the Statutory Sick Pay Rebate Scheme (SSPRS). This will be a temporary scheme to support employers facing heightened levels of sickness absence due to COVID-19. The SSPRS will refund small and medium-sized employers’ COVID-related SSP costs for up to two weeks per employee.

  • Beneficiaries:

Small- and medium-sized employers (i.e. employers with fewer than 250 employees).

  • Design and eligibility criteria:

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.
4. They have already paid their employees’ COVID-related SSP.

Employers will be able to claim the costs for up to two weeks of SSP per employee that has to take time off because of COVID-19. This two-week limit will be reset so an employer will be able to claim up to two weeks per employee regardless of whether they have claimed under the previous scheme for that employee. More guidance will be published shortly.

  • Duration of scheme:

The scheme will be reintroduced so that employers can claim for COVID-related sickness absences occurring from 21 December 2021 onwards.
Employers will be able to make a claim through HMRC from mid-January onwards, using the below website: This is a temporary scheme to support employers facing heightened levels of sickness absence due to COVID-19. The government will keep the duration of the scheme under review.

  • Compliance measures:

Employers must keep records of Statutory Sick Pay that they’ve paid and want to claim back from HMRC. Employers must keep the following records for 3 years after the date they receive the payment for their claim:
1. the dates the employee was off sick
2. which of those dates were qualifying days
3. the reason they said they were off work due to COVID19
4. the employee’s National Insurance number


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