The Omicron Hospitality and Leisure Grant – Everything you need to know

omicron-grant

The success of the national vaccine rollout saw restrictions easing towards the end of 2021. Then, along came the Omicron variant – and with it, fresh anxiety about the future. This is especially true of the hospitality and leisure sector, which continues to battle uncertainty in 2022. 

Fortunately, the UK government is offering support to hard-hit businesses with its Omicron Hospitality and Leisure Grant. In this article, we’ll explore this grant in more detail – so if you think you might be eligible, read on!

What is the Omicron Hospitality and Leisure Grant?

The Omicron Hospitality and Leisure Grant was launched in December 2021. It aims to support hospitality, leisure and accommodation business premises with one-off grants of up to £6,000. 

To cast a tighter net, the government clarifies these businesses must: 

  • Offer in-person services
  • Ensure the main service and activity takes place in a fixed rate-paying premises
  • Be within the hospitality, leisure and accommodation sectors

These qualifiers might still seem pretty broad. But, as with all things, there is fine print – lots of it. To save you time, we’ve broken down the who’s who of businesses that can access this grant. 

Who is eligible?

Hospitality

‘If an office sports an espresso machine and a cupcake tray, does it fall under hospitality?’ We hear some ask. Not really – but nice try. To avoid any misinterpretation, here’s some clarification from the UK government. 

“For the purposes of this scheme, a hospitality business can be defined as a business whose main function is to provide a venue for the consumption and sale of food and drink.”

Of course, a lot of establishments might partially fall under this category. Thankfully, there is some wiggle room in the guidance. It goes on to state:

“If a business operates services that could be considered hospitality or leisure, and also fall into another category, the main service can be determined by assessing which category constitutes 50% or more of their overall income.”

While there is opportunity for case-by-case assessment, the definition of a hospitality business excludes:

“food kiosks and businesses whose main service (generating 50% or more of income) is a takeaway (not applicable to those that have adapted to offer takeaways during periods of restrictions, in alignment with previous COVID-19 business grant schemes).”

Leisure

Does hefting A4 paper packs to the copy machine count as sports? What about hiking the stairs to the break room?

According to the government, a leisure business:

“provides opportunities, experiences and facilities, in particular for culture, recreation, entertainment, celebratory events and days and nights out.”

So the office Peloton probably doesn’t count. 

It goes on to clarify exclusions:

“All retail businesses, coach tour operators, tour operators, and gyms and sports businesses where physical exercise or training is conducted on an individual basis or group basis.”

Accommodation

Could having a lodger entitle you to this grant? What about AirBnB owners?

“For the purposes of this scheme, an accommodation business can be defined as a business whose main lodging provision is used for holiday, travel or other purposes.”

Tragically, this excludes:

“private dwellings, education accommodation, residential homes, care homes, residential family centres and beach huts.”

Finally, you can’t get funding if:

  • your business is in administration, insolvent or has been struck off the Companies House register
  • you’ll exceed the permitted subsidy allowance
  • your business is not on the Valuation Office Agency (VOA) ratings list

TOP TIP: Not sure if you qualify? Give us a call.

How much will I get?

The maximum payout you can receive is £6,000. The government uses a subsidy allowance scale to determine how much you’re entitled to. Your hereditament (property or location) and its rateable value on the local rating list is what will tip the scales. Here’s how it works:

  1. Businesses occupying hereditaments appearing on the local rating list with a rateable value of exactly £15,000 or under on 30 December 2021 will receive a payment of £2,667.
  2. Businesses occupying hereditaments appearing on the local rating list with a rateable value over £15,000 and less than £51,000 on 30 December 2021 will receive a payment of £4,000.
  3. Businesses occupying hereditaments appearing on the local rating list with a rateable value of exactly £51,000 or over on 30 December 2021 will receive a payment of £6,000.

TOP TIP: Depending on subsidy allowance conditions, your business will be entitled to one grant per eligible hereditament. So if you have multiple locations, you could get multiple grants. 

How can I apply?

Unlike some other grants and schemes, this one is handled by your Local Authority. The government will give them the money, which they’ll then divvy out to businesses who meet the requirements.

While benchmarks remain the same at a national level, each council will have instructions for the application process on their individual website.

TOP TIP: To find the website for your local council, click here

Will I have to pay tax on my grant money?

Grant income does need to be declared on your business tax return. Here’s what you need to know: 

  1. Only businesses that make an overall profit once grant income is included will be subject to tax. 
  2. Payments made to businesses before 5 April 2022 will fall into the 2021/22 tax year.
  3. Unincorporated businesses will be taxed when they receive the grant income.

Want Some Help That?

We help businesses just like yours access all the funding they’re eligible for. Whether you’re looking for general advice, or would like support with the application process, we’re the team for the job. Get in touch with us today!

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