Local councils in England have been tasked with helping to deliver £3.5bn of grants and extra support to businesses following the announcement of a new national lockdown.
On top of administering £3bn worth of one-off top up grants worth up to £9,000 per property to businesses in the retail, hospitality and leisure sectors, councils in England are also expected to deliver an extra £594m discretionary fund for affected businesses in other sectors.
Guidance for councils on how to use and distribute the extra discretionary funding is due to be published next week by the Department for Business, Energy & Industrial Strategy.
Announcing the new package of grants, the chancellor Rishi Sunak told businesses to apply to their local authorities for help. He 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 government has also provided 100% business rates relief for retail, hospitality and leisure businesses, £1.1bn existing discretionary funding for businesses, 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
- 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
Further decisions on how to support businesses and jobs will be taken by the govenment at the Budget on 3 March.