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GRANTS TO SUPPORT LEICESTER BUSINESSES HIT BY OMICRON SURGE

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LEICESTER businesses, whose trade was affected by the recent urge in Omicron coronavirus cases, are being encouraged to apply for new grant schemes to help them to get back on track after Christmas.

Two new grant schemes are being offered to businesses in the hospitality, leisure and accommodation sector, who are being encouraged to apply as soon as possible.

Leicester City Council, which is administering the grants on behalf of the government, estimates that around 1,000 local businesses are eligible for the grant, and has contacted many of them.

Grants totalling £1.25m have already been paid.

The Omicron Hospitality and Leisure Grant (OHLG), is available to hospitality, leisure and accommodation businesses which were offering in-person services on the premises, and were the direct ratepayer and trading on December 30 2021. 

It includes businesses such as restaurants, pubs, cafes, cinemas, casinos, art galleries, tourist attractions, event venues, nightclubs, theatres, hotels and B&Bs. The eligible businesses are determined by the government and a full list is available online.

The exact amount of grant depends on the rateable value of the business premises, and ranges from £2,667 to £6,000. It is a one-off payment.

A discretionary grant fund has been set up by the council using £675,000 of government funding. This is called the Omicron additional restrictions grant. This is sufficient to award grants to between 200 and 250 businesses whose trade has been affected by the Omicron surge, but which are not eligible for the OHLG.

Again, the exact amount of grant depends on the rateable value of the business premises, and ranges from £2,667 to £6,000. 

Leicester City Mayor Peter Soulsby said: “We know that the surge in Omicron cases affected many businesses across the city, particularly during what would normally have been a busy time in the run-up to Christmas. These grants can provide much-needed financial support. 

“We have tailored our own discretionary grant to address some of the gaps in eligibility, carefully considering which business types and business sectors can be supported with this limited funding. Whilst the money from the Government is of course very welcome, it is not enough to support all the businesses across the city that have been affected.

“I’d urge businesses to check whether they are eligible and, if so, make sure they claim the help to which they are entitled as soon as possible.” 

The closing date for both schemes is March 18, although the discretionary scheme will close earlier if all the £675,000 funding is allocated – so the sooner eligible businesses apply, the better.

For more details and to apply online, visit: https://www.leicester.gov.uk/your-council/coronavirus/advice-and-support-for-businesses/

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