Small and medium-sized businesses will be allowed to claim back money from the government to cover Covid related statutory sick pay.
The Chancellor today unveiled a raft of measures to support businesses as the government mulls the introduction of tougher lockdown measures in the run up to Christmas.
Sunak announced that the government will provide £1bn worth of funding which will be used to provide £6,000 grants to the hospitality and leisure sectors, add £30m to the Culture Recovery Fund and support the reintroduction of the statutory sick pay rebate scheme for firms with less than 250 employees.
“Across the whole United Kingdom we are reintroducing our rebate scheme for statutory sick pay,” Sunak announced. “Now, currently if someone needs time off because of Covid, it’s businesses that cover the cost of their statutory sick pay. Under our new scheme small and medium sized businesses with fewer than 250 employees will be able to claim a cash rebate from the government to cover those costs for two weeks, for every employee.”
Tourism and hospitality businesses will continue to pay a reduced rate of VAT until the end of March while the business rates bill for businesses in retail, hospitality and leisure will be cut by 75 per cent Sunak added.
Sunak said the measures would remain under “constant review” as the government considers new data on the spread of the Omicron variant.
The reaction to new measures has been mixed with companies in the hospitality space saying that the promise of a £6,000 grant borders on insulting.
Michael Kill, chief executive of the Night Time Industries Association, told City A.M.: “Every pound of help is much needed – but this package is far too little and borders on the insulting.”