Rishi Sunak to announce £5bn business grants for firms hit hardest by Covid
Pubs, restaurants, shops and other businesses hit hardest by the coronavirus pandemic will be boosted by a £5 billion grant scheme to help them reopen as the lockdown is eased.
Chancellor Rishi Sunak will announce the “restart grants” worth up to £6,000 per premises to help non-essential retailers reopen and trade safely at his Budget on Wednesday, March 3.
Hospitality, hotels, gyms, as well as personal care and leisure firms, will be eligible for up to £18,000 per premises as they are due to open later under the plans for easing lockdown.
The Treasury estimates 230,000 firms will be eligible for the higher band, which will be awarded based on their rateable value, and 450,000 shops will also be able to apply.
The £5billion is targeted at England, but the devolved nations in Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland will receive an extra £794 million in funding through the Barnett formula.
As an announcement was made on Saturday, February 27 Mr Sunak said: “Our local businesses have been hit hard by the pandemic which is why we went big and went early with a multi-billion 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.”
Local authorities will be tasked with distributing the grants and will receive the funding in April.
Speaking ahead of next week’s Budget, the Chancellor also issued a warning about the scale of the damage caused by the pandemic, suggesting he could use it to begin making hard decisions to repair public finances.