Chancellor Rishi Sunak has announced an additional £1bn in financial support for the hospitality and leisure sectors.
Every business will be able to claim a one-off cash grant of £6,000, criticised by many in the sector as being insufficient.
Sunak said: “We recognise that the spread of the Omicron variant means businesses in the hospitality and leisure sectors are facing huge uncertainty, at a crucial time.
“So we’re stepping in with £1bn of support, including a new grant scheme, the reintroduction of the Statutory Sick Pay Rebate Scheme and further funding released through the Culture Recovery Fund.
“Ultimately the best thing we can do to support businesses is to get the virus under control, so I urge everyone to get boosted now.”
The Chancellor has also committed to a top up of discretionary grant funding and the release of a £1.5bn package to support the supply chain.
The rent moratorium remains in place and commercial landlords have been asked to show patience with struggling hospitality tenants.
Commenting, Kate Nicholls, UKHospitality CEO, said: “This is a generous package building on existing hospitality support measures to provide an immediate emergency cash injection for those businesses who, through no fault of their own, have seen their most valuable trading period annihilated.
“It will help to secure jobs and business viability in the short term, particularly among small businesses in the sector, and we particularly welcome the boost to funds for the supply chain and event and business catering companies so badly affected by the reintroduction of work from home guidelines.
“It is a generous top up emergency fund in addition to previous support and with a commitment from Ministers to prioritise hospitality and its supply chain in allocation of funds. There is now a real urgency in getting this funding to businesses so we urge local authorities to prioritise distribution of funds to make sure jobs and businesses are preserved through this difficult period.”