Businesses in retail, hospitality and leisure will receive new grants to help them keep afloat until spring, Chancellor Rishi Sunak has said. Further discretionary funds have also been allocated to Local Authorities, for Local Restriction Support Grants and to businesses more broadly, including through a further extension to the furlough scheme.
Retail, hospitality and leisure sector support
Businesses within these sectors will be awarded one-off ‘top-up grants’ on a per-property basis, up to the value of £9,000. This is in an attempt to support an estimated 600,000 businesses in the sectors most widely impacted by the new restrictions, which Boris Johnson confirmed are likely to run until after the mid-February half-term at the earliest.
The top-up grants will be available to businesses forced to close under the latest lockdown restrictions, as follows:
- £4,000 for businesses with a rateable value of under £15,000
- £6,000 for businesses with a rateable value between £15,000 and £51,000
- £9,000 for businesses with a rateable value of over £51,000
In addition to the one-off grants, businesses within these sectors have also been granted 100% business rates relief through the restrictions.
Mr Sunak said the support “will help businesses get through the months ahead – and crucially it will help sustain jobs, so workers can be ready to return when they are able to reopen”
Business groups welcomed the help as a good start but warned the money still wouldn't be enough to stop many firms from collapse. Trade boy UK Hospitality said “This is obviously a very positive step to keep businesses afloat in the immediate term and, for that reason, must be welcomed”. However, they added that the measures are only a sticking plaster and “not enough to even cover the costs of many businesses and certainly will not underpin longer-term businesses viability for our sector.”
Discretionary business grants
£594 million of additional support is also being made available through both Local Authorities and Devolved Administrations to those businesses impacted by the restrictions but not eligible for the grants. Businesses will need to apply to their Local Authorities to receive the funding.
These one-off grants are being provided in addition to the existing business support that is available, including grants of £3,000 for those businesses forced to close and up to £2,100 per month for businesses impacted once they reopen.
Devolved administration support
The government have announced a further round of discretionary funding for the devolved administrations, as follows:
- Scottish Government to receive £375 million
- Welsh Government to receive £227 million
- Northern Ireland Government to receive £127 million
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