Business support announced for local lockdowns

Business support announced for local lockdowns

The government has announced new grants for businesses affected by local lockdowns, as certain areas of the UK react to a rise in Covid-19 cases.

Businesses in England that are required to shut because of local interventions will now be able to claim up to £1,500 per property every three weeks.

To be eligible for the grant, a business must have been required to close due to local Covid-19 restrictions; the largest businesses will receive £1,500 every three weeks they are required to close, while smaller businesses will receive £1,000.

Payments are triggered by a national decision to close businesses in a high incidence area.

Each payment will be made for a three-week lockdown period, and each new three-week lockdown period triggers an additional payment.

Stricter measures are already being imposed in some areas to control the spread of the virus, such as the Bolton businesses ordered to provide a delivery or takeaway service only in recent days – though they have not been forced to close.

Reacting to the latest government business support announcement, UKHospitality chief executive Kate Nicholls said: “It is reassuring that the government has recognised the damage closures will cause businesses.

“The grants would cover some costs, but more detail is needed to properly assess the benefit.

For example, in Bolton at present, venues can open as takeaways, so presumably are not being forcibly closed, making them ineligible for the grants – this cannot be right.

“On furlough, the chief secretary said three questions remain unanswered in terms of targeted support.

“Since the pandemic broke, it has become inarguably clear that hospitality is justifiably front of the queue for inclusion, and our supply chain benefits from our recovery.

“We realise, of course, that any employment support cannot be open-ended but, based on the rate of recovery of the sector thus far, we would propose a potential winding down at the end of Q1 2021, as the sector looks forward to the summer season.”

Full details of the latest wave of business support measures can be found here.