The Chancellor of the Exchequer, Rishi Sunak, has announced that retail, hospitality and leisure businesses will receive up to £9,000 in one-off grants to help them through the latest Covid-19 restrictions.
Mr Sunak has revealed new measures totalling £4.6bn to help struggling firms after a new national lockdown was imposed throughout England and Scotland yesterday.
The latest support package also includes a £594m discretionary fund for other businesses that might be affected, an additional £1.1 billion in discretionary grant funding for Local Authorities, Local Restriction Support Grants worth up to £3,000 a month and extension of furlough scheme.
Mr Sunak said: “Throughout the pandemic we’ve taken swift action to protect lives and livelihoods and today we’re announcing a further cash injection to support businesses and jobs until the spring.
“This will help businesses to 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.”
The announcement comes after Greater Birmingham Chambers of Commerce, supported by more than 50 regional stakeholders and business leaders, urged the Chancellor to provide enhanced grant support for impacted businesses.
Paul Faulkner, Chief Executive of Greater Birmingham Chambers of Commerce, said: “We are relieved that the Chancellor has answered some of our calls to Back Our Businesses with enhanced grant support for the most impacted businesses.
“With a national lockdown now in place on top of over nine months of restrictions, it was essential that businesses received additional support to survive in order to be in a place to thrive and contribute to economic recovery as the vaccine rollout takes effect in a few months time.
While we await the detail, it is critical that non-business rates payers receive support as well as rates payers and also that supply chain businesses, who fall outside of these closed sectors but are critically impacted none-the-less, also get the help they desperately need.
The Government must ensure that local authorities are allocated sufficient discretionary grant funding to support those businesses, particular in areas where overheads such as rents are particularly high.
After weeks of concerning silence on business support, this is a huge step forward that will make a huge difference to some of the most impacted businesses.
However, businesses need to see a comprehensive, organised package of support for 2021, not simply short term reactive measures aimed at surviving to the Spring.
While the support provided is unprecedented and most welcome, there are number of areas which our members tell us still need action such as VAT reliefs and deferral, support for those excluded from current schemes, removing NI and pension contributions from furlough for closed businesses and business rates relief into 2021/22.
We will continue to call on the government to Back Our Businesses and lobby on our members’ behalf over the coming weeks and months.”
The £594 million discretionary fund is being made available for Local Authorities and the devolved administrations to support businesses not eligible for the grants that might be affected by the restrictions.
The one-off top-ups will be granted to closed businesses as follows – £4,000 for firms with a rateable value of £15,000, or under £6,000 for those with a rateable value between £15,000 and £51,000 and £9,000k for businesses with a rateable value of more than £51,000.