Rishi Sunak has announced a new £4.6 billion support package for struggling UK companies a day after the government imposed its toughest COVID-19 restrictions to date.
Sunak said the Treasury would provide £4 billion of one-off ‘top-up grants’ for an estimated 600,000 retail, hospitality and leisure companies, which can each claim up to £9,000.
There will also be a new £594 million discretionary fund made available for councils to support other businesses which are not eligible for those grants but are affected by the restrictions. Under new restrictions, which will last at least seven weeks, schools, hospitality, leisure, and non-essential retail businesses across England will close and the general public has been urged to stay at home apart from for specific urgent tasks and exercise.
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