2022 Current Covid Support

January 24, 2022 9:47 am Published by

Help, support, advice, guidance signpostsAs we begin 2022, there may be hope at last that the COVID-19 pandemic is improving throughout the UK, so much so, there are even hints that the majority of Covid restrictions in England could end in March.

Despite this, the pandemic continues to affect businesses, and with many of the Government’s grants and schemes now ended, we thought we would put together a round up of the current Covid support available.

Please note that information surrounding the Coronavirus pandemic is a fast-moving policy area and is subject to change at short notice. The following information should be read as correct at the time of publication.

1. The Omicron Hospitality and Leisure Grant

On the 21st December 2021, the Chancellor made an announcement regarding support for hospitality and leisure businesses in response to the rapid spread of the Omicron variant.

The Omicron Hospitality and Leisure Grant provides up to £6,000 in support and is being distributed by District Councils to local businesses on behalf of the Government.

Who is Eligible?

The level of grant is determined by how much the business pays in rates and ranges from £2,667 to £6,000. To be eligible for this one-off grant, applicants must be actively trading, must not be facing closure, and may be restricted if they have already received grant payments in previous schemes.

Among the many types of businesses eligible for support are: pubs, restaurants, cafés and nightclubs as well as events venues, tourist attractions, casinos, cinemas and art galleries. Those businesses ineligible include: gyms, takeaway food outlets and shops as well as residential homes, care homes and tour operators.

How Do I Apply?

To check your business’ eligibility, or to apply for the grant, you can use the Gov.UK website to find your local council’s application process.

The deadline for applications is the 28th February 2022. For detailed information on the grant, including the company checking process and information on how the grant will be provided, download a copy of the Omicron Hospitality and Leisure Grant Guidance for Local Authorities.

2. Statutory Sick Pay Reclaim for Employers

The Government has reintroduced the Statutory Sick Pay Rebate Scheme (SSPRS) as a temporary measure to support employers facing heightened levels of employee absence due to COVID-19.

What Can I Claim?

Employers can claim up to two weeks statutory sick pay starting from the first qualifying day of sickness if an employee is unable to work due to COVID-19 related circumstances. This includes:

  • Coronavirus symptoms.
  • Self-isolation due to someone they live with having the virus.
  • Self-isolation due to having been notified by the NHS or public health bodies that they’ve come into contact with someone with Coronavirus.
  • Shielding due to having been advised by letter that they’re clinically vulnerable and at high risk of contracting the virus.
  • Self-isolation before surgery as advised by the NHS.

Employers can claim more than once per employee, but never for more than two weeks in total.

Who is Covered?

The Statutory Sick Pay Rebate Scheme covers all types of employment contracts, including:

  • Full-time employees
  • Part-time employees
  • Employees working on agency contracts
  • Employees working on fixed-term or zero-hour contracts

How to Claim

Employers must have already paid their employees’ sick pay before claiming it back via the scheme.

Claims can be made via the GOV.UK website.

3. Extension of the Recovery Loan Scheme

As part of last year’s Autumn budget, Rishi Sunak announced an extension of the Recovery Loan Scheme (RLS). Officially due to end on 31st December 2021, the scheme has been extended for a further 6 months until 30th June 2022.

The RLS was launched as part of the Government’s plans to support UK businesses with their recovery from the disruption caused by the COVID-19 pandemic.

How Does it Work?

Loans are available through a network of accredited lenders which are listed on the British Business Bank’s website. A total amount of up to £2 million is available per business in line with the terms and conditions, and at the discretion of participating lenders. As part of the scheme, the Government will guarantee 70% of the loan to the lender regardless of the size.

Changes to the RLS

From 1st January 2022, new conditions came into force which changed the way the Recovery Loan Scheme operates.

  • The RLS is now only open to small and medium sized businesses (there were previously no restrictions on size of business).
  • The maximum amount of finance available per business has decreased from £10 million to £2 million.
  • The Government-backed guarantee to lenders has decreased from 80% to 70%.

Who is Eligible?

To apply for the Recovery Loan Scheme, your business must be trading in the UK and must adhere to the following criteria:

  • Would be viable were it not for the pandemic
  • Has been negatively impacted by the pandemic
  • Is not involved in insolvency proceedings

Businesses which have received previous support under earlier COVID-19 guaranteed loan schemes are still eligible to apply for the Recovery Loan Scheme if they meet all other eligibility criteria.

The scheme is open to businesses from any sector excluding:

  • Banks, insurers, building societies and reinsurers (but does not apply to insurance brokers)
  • State-funded primary and secondary schools
  • Public-sector bodies

Accessing COVID-19 Support in the UK

As COVID-19 support for businesses in the UK depends largely on the location, size and sector of your business, eligibility and accessibility may vary.

The Government therefore have an online tool to assess any current financial support that is available for your business.

Need a Hand?

At FCF, we have been supporting our clients throughout the Coronavirus pandemic with various grant applications and financial advice. We hope that all businesses are able to utilise the available schemes to support them in their recovery. To find out more about how we can help your business, call us on 0117 379 0810.

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This post was written by Steph Roffey

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