£4.6 Billion in Lockdown Grants Announced for Struggling Firms

As nationwide lockdowns return to the UK, chancellor Rishi Sunak has unveiled new measures to support vulnerable sectors.

Chancellor Rishi Sunak on Tuesday announced a raft of new grants worth £4.6 billion to support firms in the retail, hospitality and leisure sectors.

The chancellor said that one-off top-up grants worth up to £9,000 per property would be issued to businesses in these sectors, with the aim of helping them to last through the winter.

“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,” the chancellor said.

“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.”

In addition to the one-off grants, Sunak announced that a £594 million discretionary fund would be made available to support impacted businesses in other sectors, along with £1.1 billion in further discretionary grant funding for Local Authorities, an extension of the furlough scheme and Local Restriction Support Grants worth up to £3,000 a month.

The move follows prime minister Boris Johnson’s Monday evening announcement that non-essential businesses will be shuttered until at least February half-term as England, Scotland and Northern Ireland come under full lockdown measures once again, spurred by an acceleration in the spread of COVID-19 cases and the emergence of a highly infectious new COVID-19 variant.

Johnson’s announcement prompted business heads to call on the government for support heading into the new lockdown period.

“Tens of thousands of firms are already in a precarious position, and now face a period of further hardship and difficulty,” said Adam Marshall, director-general of the British Chambers of Commerce.

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