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More than £750k for South Holland firms - but cash will be 'drop in the ocean' compared to losses after Omicron

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More than £750,000 will be available to hospitality and leisure firms in South Holland who are counting the cost of the Omicron Covid variant.

However, the figure given by the Government is likely to mean that small firms can claim just £2,600 to cover the loss of earnings caused by new Covid restrictions.

Many firms suffered cancelled bookings and lower demand during December - typically a strong trading month.

Katrina Pierce, Lincolnshire development manager, Federation of Small Businesses. (24782555)
Katrina Pierce, Lincolnshire development manager, Federation of Small Businesses. (24782555)

Federation of Small Business development manager Katrina Pierce said South Holland firms will soon be able to apply for a share of £762,066.

The figure is the lowest for any local authority area in Lincolnshire - more than £5 million is up for grabs in East Lindsey - but that reflects the number of eligible businesses in the sector.

Katrina said: “Is it enough to make a difference to businesses? No. For some businesses it’s absolutely a drop in the ocean.

“It’s not going to change the world but anything is better than nothing.”

Landladies Sandra Anderson and daughter Crystal Marinas (53974988)
Landladies Sandra Anderson and daughter Crystal Marinas (53974988)

Crystal Marinas, who runs the Black Horse in Gosberton Risegate with her mum Sandra Anderson, have been told that they are one of the businesses entitled to less than £3,000 of Government support.

Crystal said: “The way we do our business plans is usually that in December you are looking to 20 to 25% of your profit to get you through January, February, October and November, which are quite dim months.

“We lost some money in December and we have had no help whatsoever. We are entitled to £2,667 in help.

“We are in a really difficult position. We are desperate to keep our pub going. It is so hard.”

Owner of Spalding’s The Red Lion, Jeremy Powell, said the maximum £6,000 grant offered to hospitality firms did not cover his weekly wage bill let alone the other costs.

He said: “Give us a better grant than the paltry one for the damage they did to our business.”

Businesses will have to apply through the district council for the cash - with the process set to begin this week.

Katrina is urging firms to at least claim what they can - and said we can all play a role in ensuring traders weather the storm.

She said: “Having had a very disrupted Christmas where footfall was lower than usual and average spend was lower than usual this is a very tough January for local businesses.

“It’s upon us. If we want them to survive we need to get behind them. If we want them to be here in a few months we need to support then now.”

There will also be a further ‘Additional Restrictions Grant’ launched - although details of this are not yet known.

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