Hospitality venues receive less than half of £635m Omicron support package
Hospitality businesses in England received less than half of a £635m support package promised at the end of last year to make up for Omicron cancellations.
Just £305m was paid out less than three weeks before the final cut off, analysis by the Altus Group revealed.
The Treasury had announced one-off grants worth up to £6,000 after pubs and restaurants faced cancelled bookings and reduced footfall amid ‘Plan B’ Covid restrictions.
London was especially hard hit as commuters stayed away in the weeks running up to Christmas and office parties were rescheduled.
The City is one of the areas where businesses have received the lowest proportion of support under the Omicron hospitality and leisure grant scheme, with just Ealing, Hackney and Harrow behind.
However, the City of London Corporation launched its own support grant for hospitality and leisure businesses in the area. The Corporation invested the majority of the money behind the £10m scheme with a top-up from Whitehall, as CityA.M. revealed last year.
The City paid out less than quarter of the cash it was allocated by the Treasury to help venues struggling with the side effects of Covid measures last year.
The Square Mile has paid 19 per cent of what was allocated, with pubs and restaurants in the area receiving £639,335 from the Treasury, out of an allocation of some £3.4m.
For venues in the West End, Westminster City Council has pumped some £9m into hospitality firms, 64 per cent of what was allocated.
The data was for the end of February, with a deadline for all payouts to firms on 31 March. After this date, grants would not be reimbursed by The Treasury.
Altus Group said its analysis revealed that 29 councils had failed to distribute a single penny whilst a further 89 councils had distributed less than half of their total allocation in grant funding.
Robert Hayton, UK president of Altus Group, described the grant scheme as a “post code lottery”.
He said: “These types of businesses saw one of their most valuable trading periods wiped out and simply didn’t get the support they needed quickly enough.
“I just hope councils rallied at the end.”
Some seven councils paid out more than allocated by the Treasury, including Barnet. The north London borough dished out just under £2.5m by late February, almost 40 per cent more than it was allocated.