FWD welcomes £1bn Omicron support

Additional support for businesses most impacted by Omicron has been announced by the Chancellor, Rishi Sunak

Businesses in the hospitality and leisure sectors in England will be eligible for one-off grants of up to £6,000 per premises, plus there will be more than £100 million discretionary funding up for grabs for local authorities to support other businesses. The government will also cover the cost of Statutory Sick Pay for Covid-related absences for small- and medium-sized employers across the UK.

Recognising that the rise of the Omicron variant means some businesses are likely to struggle over the coming weeks, the government is providing one-off grants of up to £6,000 per premises for businesses in the hospitality and leisure sectors in England.

Many pubs and restaurants have seen cancellations and reduced footfall during what should be their most profitable time of year, with Hospitality UK reporting that many businesses have lost 40-60% of their December trade.

James Bielby, Chief Executive, FWD, said: “We are very pleased that the new support package specifically includes businesses that supply the hospitality and leisure sector, which means food and drink wholesalers will be supported. The Additional Restrictions Grant has been a lifeline for food distributors who have not been included in direct support for hospitality. It’s very encouraging that the Chancellor has recognised the vital role they play in supplying not only pubs and restaurants but care homes, schools and hospitals.

“Short notice of restrictions on pubs and restaurants means wholesalers who are already holding stock can’t sell it on, leading to million-pound losses and tonnes of food wasted. They need support as much as their customers, if not more. By making money available immediately through the ARG, along with the Covid Additional Relief Fund which the Treasury has recently released to Local Authorities, the Chancellor shows he has listened to the voice of the food supply chain.”

covid-19 Foodservice Government hospitality James Bielby Rishi Sunak