Rachel has welcomed an additional £1 billion support package for businesses who have been impacted by the Omicron variant.

With infection rates rising due to the spread of Omicron, some businesses are likely to struggle over the coming weeks.

To support those businesses affected, the Government is providing one-off grants of up to £6,000 per premises for businesses in the hospitality and leisure sectors.

Businesses in Redditch will be eligible for business grants which will be administered by Redditch Borough Council and will be available in the coming weeks.

Last Friday (December 17th), Rachel met with Cllr Matt Dormer, Leader of Redditch Borough Council, and urged the council to distribute the remainder of the Additional Restrictions Grant funding it received from the Government in order to support businesses impacted by Omicron.

Today (December 21st), the Borough Council announced new support grants are being paid to Redditch hospitality businesses using the £270,000 remaining in Government money provided through the Additional Restrictions Grant.

However, the £1 billion package announced by the Chancellor today also includes support for other businesses impacted by the new variant – such as those who supply the hospitality and leisure sectors. To support these businesses, the Government is also giving a more than £100 million boost to the Additional Restrictions Grant (ARG) fund for local councils. Councils will have discretion to allocate this funding to businesses most in need.

As increasing numbers of Covid-19 cases means more workers taking time off work, the Government is also reintroducing the Statutory Sick Pay Rebate Scheme (SSPRS).

The SSPRS will help small and medium-sized employers – those with fewer than 250 employees – by reimbursing them for the cost of Statutory Sick Pay for Covid-related absences, for up to 2 weeks per employee. Firms will be eligible for the scheme from today and they will be able to make claims retrospectively from mid-January.

To provide continued support to the cultural sector, £30 million further funding will be made available through the Culture Recovery Fund to support organisations such as theatres, orchestras and museums through the winter to March 2022.

Redditch has already benefitted from the Culture Recovery Fund, with Rubicon Leisure receiving £173,074 and Fly By Nite awarded £586,000.

Rachel said:

“We’re acting now to protect jobs and businesses in Redditch with new financial support this winter.

“Throughout the pandemic, the Borough Council has done an excellent job in getting millions of pounds worth of grants to businesses in need of support. I know the Council will step up once again and get this additional support to local businesses impacted by Omicron.

“Ultimately the best thing we can do to support businesses is to get the virus under control, so I urge everyone to Get Boosted Now.”