On 21 December 2021, the government announced the introduction of further grant funding support for hospitality, leisure, and accommodation businesses, in recognition of the impact of the COVID-19 Omicron variant on these sectors.

Eligibility

The Omicron Hospitality and Leisure Grant scheme provides a one-off grant to hospitality, leisure, and accommodation businesses, occupying premises liable for business rates.

The aim is to support business that:

  • offer in-person services
  • where the main service and activity takes place in a fixed rate-paying premises
  • in the hospitality, leisure and accommodation sectors

Please note: If your business is not liable for business rates or is not an eligible type for this scheme, you may instead be eligible to apply for an Additional Restrictions Grant. A separate scheme and application process is currently being developed for this fund, and the council will publish more details here as soon as possible.

Your business may be eligible for the Omicron Hospitality and Leisure Grant if it:

  • was liable for business rates on the 30 December 2021;
  • was trading on the 30 December 2021, and is continuing to trade;
  • has not exceeded the maximum permitted subsidy allowances, and;
  • is not in administration, insolvent or a striking-off notice has been made against it

For the purposes of this scheme, government guidelines state that:

  • hospitality can be defined as a business whose main function is to provide a venue for the consumption and sale of food and drink. Hospitality excludes the following businesses:- 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 can be defined as a business that provides opportunities, experiences, and facilities, and facilities, in particular for culture, recreation, entertainment, celebratory events and days and nights out. Leisure excludes the following businesses:- all retail businesses, coach tour operators, and tour operators, and gyms and sports businesses where physical exercise or training is conduted on an individual basis or group bases. (Updated by government 12 January 2022)
  • accommodation can be defined as a business whose main lodging provision is used for holiday, travel, or other purposes. Accommodation excludes the following businesses:- private dwellings, education accommodation, residential homes, care homes, residential family centres and beach huts

The following table sets out types of businesses by sector that can be supported under this grant scheme, as indicated by government:

Support type

Types of businesses

Hospitality

  • food courts
  • public houses and pub restaurants
  • restaurants
  • roadside restaurants
  • wine bars
  • cafés

Leisure

  • casinos and gambling clubs
  • cinemas
  • museums and art galleries
  • stately homes and historic houses
  • theatres
  • zoos and safari parks
  • amusement parks
  • wedding venues
  • events venues
  • night clubs and discotheques
  • arenas
  • concert halls
  • tourist attractions
  • theme parks
  • amusement arcades
  • soft play centres or areas
  • clubs and institutions
  • village halls and scout huts, cadet huts, etc.

Accommodation

  • caravan parks
  • caravan sites and pitches
  • chalet parks
  • coaching inns
  • country house hotels
  • guest houses
  • hostels
  • hotels
  • lodge
  • holiday apartments, cottages or bungalows
  • campsites
  • boarding houses
  • canal boats or other vessels
  • B&Bs
  • catered holiday homes
  • holiday homes

Grant amounts

A one-off grant is applicable for each eligible property. The grant amount is based on the rateable value of premises as follows:

Rateable Value of premises

Grant amount

£15,000 or under

£2,667

£15,001 to £50,999

£4,000

£51,000 or over

£6,000

Exclusions

You cannot get funding if your business:

  • is not liable for business rates
  • has already received grant payments that equal the maximum permitted subsidy allowances
  • is in administration, insolvent or where a striking-off notice has been made against it
  • is listed in government guidelines as excluded from the definition of hospitality, leisure or accommodation

Will grants be subject to tax?

Grant income received by a business is taxable. The Omicron Hospitality and Leisure Grant will need to be included as income in the tax return of the business.

Only businesses that make an overall profit once grant income is included will be subject to tax.

Payments made to businesses before 5 April 2022 will fall into the 2021/22 tax year. Unincorporated businesses will be taxed when they receive the grant income.

Read further guidance from HMRC on reporting COVID-19 grant income

Subsidy Allowances

This scheme is covered by three possible subsidy allowances:

  1. Small Amounts of Financial Assistance Allowance – you’re allowed up to approximately £335,000 (subject to exchange rates) in Small Amounts of Financial Assistance over any rolling period of 3 fiscal years
  2. COVID-19 Business Grant Allowance – under this allowance you’re allowed up to £1,900,000 across all COVID-19 Business Grant schemes, provided certain conditions are met.
  3. COVID-19 Business Grant Special Allowance - if you have reached your limits under the Small Amounts of Financial Assistance Allowance and COVID-19 Business Grant Allowance, you may be able to access a further allowance of funding under these scheme rules of up to £10,000,000 across all COVID-19 Business Grant schemes, provided certain conditions are met.

Grants under these three allowances can be combined for a potential total allowance of up to £12,235,000 (subject to exchange rates).

If your business could be subject to the Northern Ireland Protocol, these Allowances may vary under the State aid rules.

Grants provided in excess of the Small Amounts of Financial Assistance Allowance are subject to additional conditions. Please contact us if you are in receipt of subsidy in excess of approximately £335,000 (subject to exchange rates) over any rolling period of 3 fiscal years.

You must answer the question(s) relating to subsidy allowance when completing the online application form for this scheme.

Apply

You will need the following information and documents ready before you start:

  • Business Rates Reference Number (this is a 9-digit number on your bill).
  • a utility bill for the property matching the address shown on your business rates bill, dated within the last 3 months (gas, electricity, water, broadband or landline telephone)
  • a full copy of a business bank statement dated within the last 2 months (clearly showing the name of business/ratepayer; address; sort code, account number and business transactions). We can only accept a PDF copy of an online bank statement, or a clear photograph of a paper copy. Screenshots are not acceptable.
  • Registered Company, Registered Charity, other registered number (where applicable)
  • VAT registration number (if applicable)
  • Unique Taxpayer Reference and National Insurance number (if self-employed)
  • Partnership or Self-Assessment number (if partnership)

Please note: if you have more than one business property eligible for this scheme, you will need to submit a separate application for each property and business rates account reference. This is to ensure all applications can be processed swiftly on a per property basis.

Please ensure you have read the accompanying Terms and Conditions and Privacy Notice for this scheme before applying. PDF versions of Terms and Conditions and Privacy Notice are also available to view on the webpages below:

When starting an application, you will be asked to register for a ‘My Wirral’ account. If you already have an existing account, you can sign in using your log-in details.

You can also choose to reset your password if you have forgotten it. The reset password email can sometimes arrive in your ‘Spam’ or ‘Junk’ email folders, so please check these if it appears you have not received it.

Apply for the Omicron Hospitality and Leisure Grant

Deadline for applications

The council has set a deadline of midday on Monday 14 February for receiving applications. 

Prior to making any payment Wirral Council is required to undertake pre-payment checks to verify the validity of all claims, and this requires interaction with third parties.

No applications will be accepted after this date and time. The government’s deadline of 28 February 2022 is for the council to determine all applications for this scheme by that date, with payments to be made by 31 March 2022.

Therefore, businesses are encouraged to apply as soon as possible.