The Prime Minister announced on 4 January that all but essential businesses must close in England until mid-February as part of a new national lockdown.
Non-essential businesses now face unprecedented financial burden and will be looking for ways to support their staff and outgoings throughout this period.
Chancellor of the Exchequer, Rishi Sunak, has announced a £4 billion one-off top up grant for business, to support the economy.
This is what we know so far about who is eligible and how business owners can apply.
What support is available?
The one-off payment will be available to businesses in the retail, hospitality and leisure sectors which have been forced to close.
It will be paid in addition to any other support these businesses may already be receiving and will be capped at £9,000 per-property.
A £594 million discretionary fund has also been made available to support other businesses impacted by the lockdown, but who have not been forced to close.
It is thought that around 600,000 businesses across England, Scotland, Northern Ireland and Wales will benefit from the grant, however devolved nations will decide how the money is divided up in their areas.
Additional support already in place includes £3,000 for closed businesses, and up to £2,100 per month for impacted businesses once they reopen.
The government is thought to now have offered £9 billion in business support grants since the beginning of the pandemic. This doesn’t include the furlough scheme which could be costing up to £10 billion per month until at least April 2021.
How much could my business get, and am I eligible?
It is largely assumed that medium to large businesses will be mostly supported via the new grant.
For business forced to close, the grant lending is as follows:
- £4,000 for businesses with a rateable value of £15,000 or under
- £6,000 for businesses with a rateable value between £15,000 and £51,000
- £9,000 for businesses with a rateable value of over £51,000
Smaller businesses can benefit from various business lending schemes, and repayment terms were eased for many of these as part of the Winter Economy Plan.
The Self Employment Income Support Scheme was also extended.
Are businesses in Scotland eligible?
Although the UK Government has offered financial assistance for businesses across the UK, business rates and financial support are devolved matters.
Therefore, the Scottish, Welsh and Northern Ireland administrations are expected to outline how they will divide up their entitlement of the £4 billion plan.
Rishi Sunak has announced that the following sums will be made available:
- The Scottish Government will receive £375 million
- The Welsh Government will receive £227 million
- The Northern Ireland Executive will receive £127 million
How do I claim?
According to Cabinet Minister Michael Gove, Sunak will reveal the details of the application process later on Tuesday, 5 January.
We will keep you updated on the latest developments as they are announced.