Rishi Sunak Has Announced A New £4.6bn Fund To Support Businesses Through The Latest Lockdown
The new package will support firms through the lastest lockdown measures
The Chancellor has unveiled a new £4.6bn economic package to help support businesses through the latest lockdown measures.
Retail, hospitality and leisure businesses will be able to apply for one-off top up grants worth up to £9,000 to help keep the afloat during the lastest shutdown, the Chancellor has announced.
Around 600,000 businesses are expected to benefit from the scheme, with a further £594m being made available to councils and devolved nations to support firms who are not covered by the new grants.
Under the latest lockdown measures announced by the Prime Minister, all non-essential retail shops, pubs, and close contact centers such as hairdressers in England will have to close until at least mid-February.
The grants will start at £4,000 for smaller firms but will rise in line with their rateable value. The funding comes on top of the £3,000 support grants already offered to firms who were forced to close if they were in a stricter tier before the lockdown was announced.
Announcing the measures, Mr 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."
Responding to the announcement, Roger Barker from the Institue of Directors said: "This new grant package is welcome, and will go some way to reassuring the worst affected businesses.
"We are particularly pleased the Treasury has taken on board our recommendation to increase the discretionary local authority grant fund. This policy has helped to reach those who haevn't been able to access other support. The Government should be prepared to top up the fund if necessary."
But he added: "The Chancellor must remain wary of a Spring cliff-edge in business support as the furlough scheme and other support measures unwind.
"Businesses will also be keen for the Government to continue setting out its plans for the vaccine roll-out, to support their planning.
"The path of the virus is extremely uncertain, and Government must be agile in its response to prevent lasting economic damage."