English businesses are being urged to keep applying for £840m ($1.3bn/€1bn) worth of COVID-19 support grants, which are still available.

Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy), Paul Scully, has urged businesses to apply for the grants, which were made available by the Government to councils across the country.

Funding is made up of £556m available through the £635m Omicron Hospitality and Leisure Grant (OHLG) scheme, which was launched in January this year, and a further £294m through the Additional Restrictions Grant (ARG) scheme, which has been offering funding since November 2020.

The OHLG scheme is there to offer help to businesses in the hospitality, leisure and accommodation sectors with one-off grants of up to £6,000 per premise.

Scully said: “We’re working to get our economy running on all cylinders agains so we can focus on making the UK the best place in the world to work and do business, creating jobs along the way.

“Eligible business should apply as soon as possible for the Gants available to help them put the pandemic behind them and get on a sounder footing to achieve success.”

During the pandemic, the UK Government has offered support for business, including business rates holidays and VAT cuts.

VAT had been slashed for certain attractions such as admissions to shows, theatres, cinemas and amusement parks. It was then raised to 12.5%, with the reduction to be ended next month.

UK Music, a British umbrella organisation for the music industry, called for a halt to the VAT hike, so that businesses in the live entertainment sector could continue their recovery.

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