Hospitality Industry: Coronavirus

Treasury written question – answered on 11th January 2022.

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Photo of Rachael Maskell Rachael Maskell Shadow Minister (Digital, Culture, Media and Sport)

To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer, whether he plans to provide additional support to the hospitality sector during the most recent covid-19 outbreak.

Photo of Stephanie Peacock Stephanie Peacock Shadow Minister (Defence)

To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer, if the Government will provide financial support to the (a) hospitality and (b) culture sectors as levels of covid-19 infection rise.

Photo of Ruth Jones Ruth Jones Shadow Minister (Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)

To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer, what assessment he has made of the support required by the hospitality sector in response to the rise in the number of positive omicron covid-19 cases.

Photo of Helen Whately Helen Whately The Exchequer Secretary

On 21st December, the government announced £1 billion of new grant support to protect jobs and businesses in England from the adverse economic impacts of the Omicron variant. This includes targeted support for the hospitality, leisure and cultural sectors in the form of:

  • New one-off cash grants of up to £6,000 to support eligible businesses in the hospitality and leisure sectors, totalling nearly £700 million.
  • Over £100 million of new discretionary funding has been provided to local authorities to support businesses in other sectors, including in the supply chain for the hospitality sector, that are not eligible for these new grants, supplementing around £250 million of unallocated discretionary grant funding already held by local authorities.
  • £30 million through the Culture Recovery Fund, to support theatres, museums and other vital cultural institutions through the temporary disruption this winter. This figure will build on nearly £240 million of Culture Recovery Fund grant support already allocated this financial year or currently available for organisations in England to bid for online until the end of January.

The government has also announced that the devolved administrations will receive £860 million of up-front funding, to help them continue their response to Omicron. As the new cash grants are England-only, Barnett consequentials will lead to a total of around £150 million for the devolved administrations: £80 million for Scotland, £50 million for Wales, and £25 million for Northern Ireland.

The government also announced that it is reintroducing the Statutory Sick Pay Rebate Scheme to help small and medium-sized employers cover the cost of Covid-related sick absences, covering up to two weeks per employee. This applies UK-wide.

HMRC also stand ready to support any business affected by the coronavirus pandemic through its Time to Pay arrangement. As part of this, businesses in the hospitality and leisure sectors in particular will be offered the option of a short delay, and payment in instalments, on a case by case basis.

The government is also waiving late filing and late payment penalties for Income Tax Self-Assessment taxpayers, including those in the hospitality and cultural sectors, to support cashflow and ease administrative burdens. Taxpayers will not receive a late filing penalty if they file online by 28 February, and will not receive a late payment penalty if they pay their tax in full or set up a payment plan by 1 April.

The additional funding announced in December is on top of the generous and wide-ranging support package already in place. Businesses in the hospitality, retail and leisure sectors continue to benefit from capped business rates relief at 66% until the next financial year, when a new capped relief of 50% takes effect. Hospitality and tourism businesses also benefit from reduced VAT at 12.5% until the end of March. Businesses in these sectors may also benefit from access to wider economic support, including the Recovery Loans Scheme and protection from eviction if they are behind on rent on their premises.

As we have done throughout the pandemic, we are closely monitoring the impact of COVID-19 on the economy. We will continue to respond appropriately and proportionately to the changing path of the virus.

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