The Confederation of British Industry (CBI) has written to the chancellor calling for further business support before the Budget in March to help protect companies.
The CBI said it hopes to see an extension of the Job Retention Scheme beyond April to the end of June and a commitment to targeted support thereafter. It also called for a lengthening of repayment periods for existing VAT deferrals until June 2021 at the earliest, and for firms to be allowed to defer Q1 2021 VAT bills due now for 12 months.
It also called for an extension of the business rates holiday for at least another three months to those UK firms forced to close under current restrictions and for that relief to be extended to their supply chains.
Tony Danker, CBI director general, said: "Many tough decisions for business owners on jobs, or even whether to carry on, will be made in the next few weeks. If the government plans to continue its support, then I urge them to take action before the Budget, which is still more than six weeks away."
Additional pre-Budget CBI recommendations included working with local authorities to ensure existing discretionary grants are in businesses' bank accounts by the end of February, and confirming details of the successor to the Coronavirus Business Interruption Loan Scheme (CBILS).
Hospitality operators have told The Caterer that an extension of the cut in VAT, business rates holiday and furlough scheme are vital long-term support, including Marston's boss Ralph Findlay, who described them as a 'minimum requirement' for pubs' survival.
Meanwhile, businesses have also said they are losing out on thousands of pounds over the 'painful' grants process. A survey by the British Institute of Innkeeping of its 9,000 members found fewer than one in four pubs have received full payment of grants they were entitled to during the autumn and winter of 2020.