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21st Dec 2021
James Shipp Partner at accountants Lovewell Blake

A leading hospitality and leisure specialist accountant has welcomed the support announced today for hospitality and leisure businesses facing the consequences of the omicron variant – but says that what the sector really needs is certainty going forward.

Chancellor Rishi Sunak today (Tuesday 21st December) announced one-off grants of up to £6,000 per premises to hospitality and leisure businesses, as well as extra support aimed at helping companies in the supply chains for these sectors.

He also announced the return of the statutory sick pay rebate scheme, allowing small and medium-sized enterprises to recover costs for sick employees.

James Shipp, who heads the Hospitality and Leisure team at leading regional chartered accountants Lovewell Blake, said that the extra support would be welcomed in the sector – but that ongoing uncertainty meant that further support may be necessary in the coming weeks.

“It is good that the Chancellor has recognised that whilst restrictions have not been officially introduced, the fact is that many people are effectively restricting themselves and deciding not to visit hospitality and leisure businesses.

“The crucial weeks running up to Christmas have already seen many such businesses lose considerable custom, and many have been crying out for government help to tide them through yet another difficult period.

“We are also particularly pleased that the Chancellor has recognised the pain felt by the supply chain, which generally missed out on previous support for the hospitality and leisure sector.

“With high levels of infection and hence self-isolation, it is important that support is given to employers, so we also welcome the return of the SSP rebate scheme.

“However, the measures announced today will not be enough if the uncertainty continues into the new year.  Many seasonal hospitality businesses have missed out on the most lucrative period of the year, and now face a difficult and uncertain January where trading typically dips every year.  They will be looking for further support from Mr Sunak if the current situation continues for any length of time.”