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Businesses and employers - financial support

Sunderland City Council endeavours to ensure that information contained on this page is up to date and correct and in line with the latest NHS and Government advice. The council accepts no liability for error or omission.

Update 21 January 2022

Following a further update from The Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy (BEIS) the closing date for applications to the Omicron Hospitality and Leisure Grant is now midnight on Friday 18 March 2022.

The closing date for the ARG Omicron Grant remains as midnight on Sunday 13 February 2022.

Update 20 January 2022

The on-line application form for the ARG Omicron scheme is now live. All eligible businesses must complete a new application form. Further information on the scheme and a link to the application form can be found on the page.

Applications remain open for the Omicron Hospitality and Leisure Grant but please note that following an update from Government, the closing date is now midnight on 13 February 2022 as Government require that the Council must have completed its assessment of all applications for eligibility by 28 February. Further information on the scheme and a link to the application form can be found on the Omicron Hospitality and Leisure Grant page.

The guidance for Local Authorities from Government on each of the schemes is available at: COVID-19 business grant funding schemes: guidance for local authorities.

Update 13 January 2022

The Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy (BEIS) has confirmed that gyms, sporting venues, indoor riding centres and travel agents are not eligible for the Omicron Hospitality and Leisure Grant.

Update 10 January 2022

The on-line application form for the Omicron Hospitality and Leisure Grant is now live. All eligible businesses must complete a new application form.

Further information on the scheme and a link to the application form can be found on the Omicron Hospitality and Leisure Grant page.

Please note, the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy (BEIS) is currently reviewing the closure date for applications (originally announced as 28 February 2022) and the list of eligible businesses, in particular gyms and sporting venues. As soon as further information or guidance is received from BEIS we will update our web pages.

Following confirmation of the Additional Restrictions Grant (ARG) allocation for Sunderland the Council is currently developing a scheme, within the limited resources available, to support businesses severely impacted by the Omicron variant which are not eligible for the Omicron Hospitality and Leisure Grant. Details will be shared on this web page together with information on the application process and timescales during the week beginning 17 January 2022.

The guidance for Local Authorities from Government on each of the schemes is available at: COVID-19 business grant funding schemes: guidance for local authorities.

Update 7 January 2022

The on-line application form for theOmicron Hospitality and Leisure Grantwill go live by no later than 5pm on Monday 10 January 2022. All eligible businesses must complete an application form.

The Additional Restrictions Grant (ARG) allocation for Sunderland has today been published. The Council will receive £260,512 to support businesses severely impacted by the Omicron variant which are not eligible for the Omicron Hospitality and Leisure Grant. Details of how this will be allocated in Sunderland are currently being developed, within the scope of the funding available, and will be shared on this web page together with information on the application process and timescales.

The guidance for Local Authorities from Government on each of the schemes is available at: COVID-19 business grant funding schemes: guidance for local authorities.

Update 6 January 2022

Further information is now available on the two schemes to be administered by local authorities which were announced by the Chancellor.

Business grants - The application form for the Omicron Hospitality and Leisure Grant will go live on or before Monday 10 January 2022 for eligible businesses in Sunderland in the hospitality, leisure and accommodation sectors which offer in-person services, where the main service and activity takes place in fixed rate-paying premises. The application process will be open until 28 February 2022, with all grant payments made to eligible businesses by no later than 31 March 2022. These grants are only open to businesses which have a Business Rates assessment. If a business has more than one set of premises they will need to complete an application form for each property.

Eligible businesses which apply will receive a one-off grant payment, depending on the rateable value, as below:

  • Businesses occupying premises with a rateable value of exactly £15,000 or under on 30 December 2021 will receive a payment of £2,667
  • Businesses occupying premises with a  rateable value over £15,000 and less than £51,000 on 30 December 2021 will receive a payment of £4,000
  • Businesses occupying premises with a rateable value of exactly £51,000 or over on 30 December 2021 will receive a payment of £6,000

Additional Restrictions Grant (ARG) - the ARG top-up allocation for Sunderland has not yet been confirmed by the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy (BEIS). Once this has been received, details of the ARG funded scheme - for businesses such as those who supply the hospitality and leisure sectors which have been severely impacted by the Omicron variant - and instructions on how to apply will be updated on this web page. All grants will be paid to eligible businesses by no later than 31 March 2022.

The guidance for Local Authorities from Government on each of the schemes is available at: COVID-19 business grant funding schemes: guidance for local authorities.

Update 30 December 2021

The Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy (BEIS) has today (30 December) released updated information on the support that will be provided to businesses in certain sectors, including the hospitality and leisure sectors. This will be supplemented by an allocation of the funding to be allocated to Sunderland via the Additional Restrictions Grant (expected 31 December) and further guidance and information early next week. Council staff are working through this information now and will provide further detail in the week commencing 4 January as to how the schemes will be rolled out in Sunderland.

Update 22 December 2021

The Chancellor Rishi Sunak, has announced (21 December) that an additional £1 billion financial support package will be made available for businesses most impacted by Omicron, which includes two schemes which will be administered by local authorities:

  • Business grants: Businesses in the hospitality and leisure sectors in England will be eligible for one-off grants of up to £6,000 per premises.
  • Additional Restrictions Grant (ARG): To support other businesses impacted by Omicron - such as those who supply the hospitality and leisure sectors - the Government is also giving a further boost to the Additional Restrictions Grant (ARG) fund for local authorities in England.  Please note, the ARG top up will be prioritised for those local authorities that have distributed the most of their existing allocation. 

Please note, we will provide further information on how this funding will be administered within Sunderland once the Government has issued the detailed guidance and confirmed our new ARG allocation. Information will be published on these pages once the guidance has been received from Government and will explain how businesses can access this funding.

The Government has also announced the following additional support measures: 

  • Sick pay: Government will cover the cost of Statutory Sick Pay for Covid-related absences for small and medium-sized employers across the UK. The SSPRS will help small and medium-sized employers - those with fewer than 250 employees - by reimbursing them for the cost of Statutory Sick Pay for Covid-related absences, for up to two weeks per employee. Firms will be eligible for the scheme from 21 December 2021 and they will be able to make claims retrospectively from mid-January.
  • Cultural Recovery Fund: £30 million further funding will be made available through the Culture Recovery Fund, enabling more cultural organisations in England to apply for support during the winter.

Changes to permitted development rights

In addition to this financial support package, the Department for Levelling up, Housing and Communities announced changes to permitted development rights. The measures introduced last year to, among other things, allow pubs, cafes, and restaurants to install gazebos or marquees on their own land without planning permission are being made permanent following public consultation.

  • Pubs, restaurants, and cafes can install gazebos or marquees on their own land without planning permission.
  • Historic visitor attractions and hospitality venues operating in listed buildings can install a gazebo for 120 days in a 12-month period.
  • Outdoor markets held on or on behalf of local councils for an unlimited number of days.

If businesses are intending to provide licensable activities, for example the sale of alcohol or regulated entertainment within outdoor structures, please check whether your existing licence and premises plan covers the area to be used. If you should have queries about such authorisation please contact licensing@sunderland.gov.uk for further information and advice.

More information on the announcement is available here - Boost for high streets and businesses as markets and outdoor marquees allowed permanently - GOV.UK (www.gov.uk)

Government's Coronavirus Business Support Finder Tool

The Government's coronavirus business support finder tool can help businesses and self-employed people to quickly and easily determine what financial support is available to them. The tool asks business owners to fill out a simple questionnaire. They will then be directed to a list of all the financial support they may be eligible for. To access the support finder tool visit the GOV.UK website.

Coronavirus business support blog is also available where you can find out how other businesses have used government support schemes and are working safely to guidance.

To access further support for businesses during the pandemic please visit Businesses and employers - information, advice and guidance.

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