To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, what assessment he has made of the impact of the spread of the Omicron variant in December 2021 on trends in the level of sales for the hospitality sector; and what plans he has to support local hospitality businesses in Portsmouth.
In recognition of the impact that the spread of the Omicron variant had on hospitality businesses during December, the Government announced further support for businesses in recognition of the impact that the spread of the Omicron variant had on hospitality. The Government is providing one-off grants of up to £6,000 per premises for businesses in the hospitality, accommodation and leisure sectors in England plus more than £100 million discretionary funding will be made available for Local Authorities to support other businesses.
Throughout the Covid-19 pandemic we have also provided businesses with an unprecedented support package of £400 billion, including grants, loans, business rates relief, VAT cuts and the job retention scheme. This includes a total of over £26 billion in business grants.
In July 2021, the Department launched the first-ever hospitality strategy to support the reopening, recovery and resilience of England’s pubs, restaurants, cafes and nightclubs. We have also launched the Hospitality Sector Council to oversee the delivery of the strategy, including working with the sector to make hospitality a career option of choice and looking at the labour and skills shortages.
I and officials in the Department continue to engage regularly with the hospitality sector to understand their needs and issues, including monitoring trading conditions.