Rishi Sunak To Announce £5 Billion Grant Scheme For Businesses Reopening
Pubs, restaurants and other businesses hit hard by the pandemic will receive a £5 billion grant to help them reopen after the third national lockdown.
‘Restart grants’ of £6,000 per premise will help boost non-essential retailers, while hospitality businesses, hotels, gyms, and leisure firms could receive up to £18,000 per premise.
Chancellor Rishi Sunak is expected to unveil the grant in his 2021 Budget on Wednesday, March 3.
‘Our local businesses have been hit hard by the pandemic which is why we went big and went early with a multibillion-pound package of support. There’s now light at the end of the tunnel and this £5 billion of extra cash grants will ensure our high street can open their doors with optimism,’ Sunak said.
The scheme is intended to support businesses in England through to June 21 when all coronavirus restrictions are expected to be lifted. Sunak will also announce that the furlough scheme will be extended until the end of June, the Financial Times reports.
It is estimated that 230,000 businesses will be considered for the higher grant of £18,000, which is being awarded to those who will open later under Prime Minister Boris Johnson’s roadmap.
The new scheme is specifically for England, but Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland will receive £796 million in funding through the Barnett formula. This formula is used by the UK treasury to automatically allocate public expenditure to the devolved nations.
The UKHospitality trade body has welcomed the news, saying it will help many of those businesses struggling to survive.
‘Cash reserves have been severely depleted after a year of closure and restrictions and these grants are a very welcome boost, putting the sector in a better place to restart,’ Chief executive Kate Nicholls said.
Nicholls also called for an extension to the reduced VAT rate and business rates holiday to help firms get back on their feet.
‘Without these measures, and full furlough while we re-open, the hospitality sector’s recovery will be stunted along with our ability to start tackling unemployment by creating jobs,’ she added.
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