Businesses in the retail, hospitality and leisure sectors are to receive a one-off grant worth up to £9,000, while an extra £594m discretionary fund has been made available for other businesses, chancellor of the exchequer Rishi Sunak has announced, 5 January.
The announcement follows prime minister Boris Johnson’s confirmation that England will enter a full national lockdown, 4 January, resulting in businesses in these sectors expected to remain closed until at least the February half-term. Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland will also enter national lockdowns, and will also have access to the grants. As business support is a devolved power, the Scottish Government will receive £375m, the Welsh Government will receive £227m and the Northern Ireland Executive will receive £127m.
The one-off top up grants for retail, hospitality and leisure businesses are worth up to £9,000 per property to help businesses through to the Spring. The grants are provided on a per-property basis to support businesses through the latest restrictions, with HM Treasury saying it expects over 600,000 businesses with properties to benefit.
Crucially, a £594m discretionary fund has also been made available to support other impacted businesses. This fund is in addition to £1.1bn further discretionary grant for Local Authorities, Local Restriction Support Grants worth up to £3,000 a month and extension of furlough scheme.
Due to the fragmentation of the events industry, and how different businesses often fall under different categories, event business owners are advised to check with their Local Authority to confirm what they are eligible for. Applications must also go through the Local Authority.
Chancellor Sunak said he hoped the extra support would “help businesses to get through the months ahead”. He added: “Crucially, it will help sustain jobs, so workers can be ready to return when they are able to reopen.”
The Night Time Industries Association welcomed the measures but said the financial support did not go far enough to support businesses and individuals that have been closed since March and are suffering extreme financial hardship.
NTIA CEO Michael Kill said, “More support will be needed. The Government must consider further sector-specific support for our industry if it wants to save Britain’s most loved cultural institutions.”
“These businesses cannot be allowed to collapse as the diversity and creativity of the UK’s night-time economy will die with them.”
The one-off top-ups will be granted to closed businesses as follows:
£4,000 for businesses with a rateable value of £15,000 or under
£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