“No business should be punished for doing the right thing,” says Business Secretary Alok Sharma, as Ministers announced additional business grants of up to £1,500 for businesses affected by localised lockdowns.
As part of the continuous COVID-19 interventions, localised lockdowns are implemented in high incidence areas. Businesses interrupted by these targeted restrictions are now able to receive additional grants ranging from £1,000 to £1,500 per property for every three weeks. This acts as an additional financial safety net, alongside existing government-backed business loans, grants, tax breaks, and the Chancellor’s Plan for Jobs.
Who are eligible for this local grant?
To be able to be eligible for this grant, a business must be required to close due to local COVID-19 restrictions. This means businesses that are still closed at a national level (like nightclubs) are not eligible for this additional grant.
Additional business grants due to local interruption
Businesses with premises at a rateable value of less than £51,000 or occupies property or part of a property with an annual rent/mortgage payment of less than £51,000 will receive £1,000 (per property) for each three-week local lockdown period.
If the property’s rateable value, annual rent, or mortgage payment equals or exceeds £51,000, they will receive a grant of £1,500 per property every three weeks of the local lockdown.
Moreover, local authorities will receive an additional 5% on their business support funding to help other businesses that are not on the rates list. Payments may be less than £1,000 and may not exceed £1,500 under the discretion and further eligibility criteria determined by the local authorities.
As with all the other COVID business grants, local grants are treated as taxable income.
It is also important to note that the business grant policy is fully devolved. This means the Barnett formula is applied similarly to any additional funding of departments involved in this intervention.
The government’s response so far…
For the past 8 months, projects implemented by the government to aid businesses that are interrupted by the coronavirus include:
- the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme (also known as the Furlough scheme), which has supported 9.6 million people, and has been extended for a month, with employees receiving 80% of their current salary for hours not worked
- various government-back loans and business grants worth up to £25,000 per property
- the Chancellor’s Plan for Jobs
- Eat Out to Help Out scheme
- 15% VAT cut for tourism and hospitality
- £2 billion Kickstart scheme which is now open for applications
- £8.8 billion investment in new infrastructure, decarbonisation, and maintenance projects
The additional grants announced are part of the government’s plan for the next phase of the economic response to protect the lives and livelihoods of the people during this crisis.
The government continues to encourage everyone to cooperate in the effort to fight the further spread of the coronavirus while minimising the losses for the business sector and supporting the workers affected by business interruptions.
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