Payments will help firms overcome new, tough lockdown measures in place until at least mid-February.
The Government today earmarked a further £4.6 billion in support payments to help businesses overcome the latest lockdown measures.
Last night, Prime Minister Boris Johnson announced a tough national lockdown until March, with the population told to stay indoors if possible.
Schools and all non-essential shops, leisure and entertainment venues have been told to close until at least the February half term. Pubs and restaurants can only offer takeaways. Sport is also cancelled, bar elite competitions.
This morning, Chancellor Rishi Sunak said businesses in the hospitality, leisure and retail sectors could apply for new grants worth £4 billion, or up to £9,000 per property. The money will be distributed by local authorities and 600,000 premises across the UK are set to get the cash.
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This is on top of the furlough scheme, extended to the end of April, and ongoing business rates relief. Around £594 million is also available to businesses outside hospitality, leisure and retail.
Sunak says: “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.”
Speaking to the BBC earlier today, Sunak said he would reconsider extending measures such as the furlough scheme in the March Budget.
Emma McClarkin, chief executive of the British Beer & Pub Association, says: “We welcome this much-needed support from the Chancellor, worth £277 million to UK pubs.
“Without this support, pubs across England were at real risk of being lost for good at the beginning of this year.”
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The new lockdown measures are meant to control a fast-spreading new variant of Covid-19. The Prime Minister wants the UK to vaccinate 13 million people in priority groups by mid-February.
These include frontline health and social workers, care home residents, everyone over 70 and the very clinically vulnerable.
Those caught breaking the lockdown rules face a fine of £200, which will double for further breaches up to a maximum of £6,400.
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