Following news last night (4 January) that the UK will be placed in another national lockdown, the government have announced that they will be offering new lockdown grants to support businesses and protect jobs over the coming months.
Businesses across the country in the leisure, retail and hospitality industries have been forced to close until the middle of February, at the earliest, with many speculating that restrictions will be in place for longer than this. As a result, the chancellor has announced one-off top-up grants worth up to £9,000 per property for those businesses which have been forced to close.
These grants, in addition to £594 million discretionary fund available to support businesses, a further £1.1 billion for Local Authorities; Local Restriction Support Grants worth up to £3,000 a month and extension of furlough scheme, aim to provide safety for businesses and job security for employees across the next few months.
The cash is provided on a per-property basis to support businesses through the latest restrictions, and is expected to benefit over 600,000 business properties, worth £4 billion in total across all nations of the UK.
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.
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 Authorities.
The new one-off grants come in addition to 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 also provided 100% business rates relief for retail, hospitality and leisure businesses, £1.1 billion existing discretionary funding for Local Authorities, the furlough scheme now extended to April and 100% government backed loans, extended until March.”
- 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
- business support is a devolved policy and therefore the responsibility of the devolved administrations, which will receive additional funding as a result of these announcements in the usual manner:
- the Scottish Government will receive £375 million
- the Welsh Government will receive £227 million
- the Northern Ireland Executive will receive £127 million
- this is on top of the increased funding which has already been guaranteed by the UK Government, to continue to provide the devolved administrations the certainty they need to plan for their COVID-19 response in the months ahead
- small businesses in the devolved administrations should also be able to benefit from other UK-wide measures in the government’s unprecedented package of support for business, including the various business lending schemes (where the repayment terms were made easier as part of the Winter Economy Plan), and the extension of the Self Employment Income Support Scheme.
This new national lockdown is grave news to many businesses owners but at least there is help available to them.
If you have been affected, or if you have any questions about the changes, please contact your usual Partner or Manager who will be happy to help.