Chancellor Sunak Reveals New Support for Businesses
Chancellor Rishi Sunak said the support will ‘help businesses to get through the months ahead’.
Businesses in England will receive support grants worth up to £9,000 to help them survive the latest Covid lockdown, which is expected to last at least six weeks.
Firms in the retail, hospitality and leisure industries – which will be closed until at the earliest mid-February – will receive a one-off cash sum worth up to £9,000 with the amount provided depending on the value of their business.
A further £594 million is also being made available for Local Authorities and the Devolved Administrations to support other businesses not eligible for the grants that might be affected by the restrictions – businesses should apply to their Local Authority for the support. It is estimated the latest raft of Treasury spending will cost £4.6 billion.
Chancellor Rishi Sunak said: “The new strain of the virus presents us all with a huge challenge – and whilst the vaccine is being rolled out, we have needed to tighten restrictions further.
“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 Treasury said the one-off grants will be linked to business rates, with payments of £4,000 for businesses with a rateable value of £15,000 or less, £6,000 for businesses with a rateable value of between £15,000 and £51,000, and £9,000 for businesses with a rateable value of more than £51,000.
The cash comes on top of two billions of existing business support, including grants worth up to £3,000 for closed businesses, and up to £2,100 per month for impacted businesses once they reopen. The government has already provided £1.1 billion of discretionary funding for local authorities extended the furlough scheme until April and taxpayer-backed business loans until March.
When asked whether he would be prepared to extend furlough for as long as it takes, Mr Sunak said the budget in March “is an excellent opportunity to take stock of the range of support that we’ve put in place and to set out the next stage of our economic response to coronavirus”.
Greater Manchester Mayor Andy Burnham, who has been a vocal critic of the level of government support throughout the pandemic, welcomed the cash but questioned why Mr Sunak had not chosen to support more people. He said the chancellor’s proposals were “good as far as it goes, but no mention of people excluded from public support”.
“Does the Government really have no intention of bringing 3 million taxpayers in from the cold? If not, Parliament should call a vote on this tomorrow,” he tweeted.