Latest news from Bira

05 Jan 2021

Treasury announces £4.6 billion in lockdown grants

The Treasury has announced a new package of funding worth £4.6 billion to help retailers through the new national lockdown measures.

Businesses in the retail, hospitality and leisure sectors are to receive a one-off grant worth up to £9,000, the Chancellor announced today (Tuesday, January 5).

This follows the Prime Minister's announcement last night that these business will be closed until at least February half-term in order to help control the virus, and, together with the wide range of existing support, provides them with certainty through the spring period.

The cash is provided on a per-property basis to support businesses through the latest restrictions, and is expected to benefit over 600,000 business properties, worth £4 billion in total across all nations of the UK.

Chancellor Rishi Sunak said: “The new strain of the virus presents us all with a huge challenge - and whilst the vaccine is being rolled out, we have needed to tighten restrictions further.

“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.”

A further £594 million is also being made available for Local Authorities and the Devolved Administrations to support other businesses not eligible for the grants, that might be affected by the restrictions. Businesses should apply to their Local Authorities.

The new one-off grants come in addition to billions of existing business support, including grants worth up to £3,000 for closed businesses, and up to £2,100 per month for impacted businesses once they reopen.

The Government has also provided 100% business rates relief for retail, hospitality and leisure businesses, £1.1 billion existing discretionary funding for Local Authorities, the furlough scheme now extended to April and 100% government backed loans, extended until March.

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Andrew Goodacre, Bira's CEO, said: "“Extra support cannot come soon enough.

“We should focus on non-essential retailers who have borne the brunt of the crisis; closed for 12 weeks in the summer, four weeks in November and part of December means that many of them have missed out on their most important trading periods and probably the only time that they make a profit.

“The first quarter of the year is always the toughest for retailing, even without Covid, and the extra sales in November in December provide the valuable cash flow to see through winter.

“As non-essential have missed out on the festive period, they need extra cash to see them through, and quickly as the bills will start to mount up. Many shops will have excess, unwanted Christmas stock that they have to pay for. The Government has shown certainty with regards the furlough scheme, in order to protect jobs.

“In reality, if independent retailers do not receive more financial support in the next few weeks, there will be no jobs to return to.”

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