Wednesday, September 30, 2020

New grants revealed for firms forced to close due to local COVID-19 restrictions

Businesses in England required to close due to local lockdowns or targeted restrictions will now be able to receive grants worth up to £1,500 every three weeks, Chief Secretary to the Treasury Steve Barclay has said.

To be eligible for the grant, a business must have been required to close due to local Covid 19 restrictions. The largest businesses will receive £1,500 every three weeks they are required to close. Smaller businesses will receive £1,000.

Payments are triggered by a national decision to close businesses in a high incidence area. Each payment will be made for a 3 week lockdown period. Each new 3 week lockdown period triggers an additional payment.

Chief Secretary to the Treasury Steve Barclay said: “These grants provide businesses with a safety net as they temporarily close their doors to help save lives in their local areas.

“As local economies eventually and carefully re-open after local interventions, our Plan for Jobs is there waiting to help businesses get back on their feet, protect jobs and thrive in the future.”

Business Secretary Alok Sharma said: “No business should be punished for doing the right thing, which is why today’s package will offer additional breathing space for businesses that have had to temporarily close to control the virus.

“Through our wider Plan for Jobs, we will continue to back our innovators and job creators across the country who are playing a critical role as we build back better from the pandemic.”

East Midlands Chamber Chief Executive Scott Knowles said: “Businesses forced to close through no fault of their own will welcome any new grant support, but for most this will not be enough to offset the result cash crunch.

“In Leicester, the first city to go into local lockdown, we saw many companies preparing for the lifting of restrictions investing lots of money that was ultimately wasted when the lockdown was imposed at the end of June.

“Businesses that would otherwise have been healthy and able to survive were instead put into a hugely difficult position and many of these will have been forced to cease trading for good.

“We have long lobbied for a comprehensive package of support from Government for firms affected by local restrictions, which are becoming more frequent by each week.

“And while we believe the decision to provide grants, rather than just loans, is the right one, ministers may soon find the amount on offer isn’t enough to ensure businesses and jobs are protected.

“This only scratches the surface and businesses in cities like Leicester have been at a disadvantage for a long time now, so they should also be able to access this funding retrospectively to account for the harm they have already sustained.

“Lastly, the experience of Leicester – when £2.6m was made available for small businesses in the city forced to close – proved the actual funding process was slow and resulted in a lot of confusion about how it should be allocated, so it’s important the Government clarifies these points early on.”

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