Rishi Sunak to announce £5b grant scheme to help hospitality bridge the last leg of lockdown

28 February 2021 by
Rishi Sunak to announce £5b grant scheme to help hospitality bridge the last leg of lockdown

Chancellor Rishi Sunak is to announce grants of up to £18,000 for hospitality businesses as part of a package of support to be presented in Wednesday's Budget.

Forming part of a £5b grant scheme, the one-off payment has been welcomed by UKHospitality, which highlighted the need for the cash to reach businesses as quickly as possible.

Sunak said yesterday: "Our local businesses have been hit hard by the pandemic – which is why we went big and went early with a multibillion pound package of support. There's now light at the end of the tunnel and this £5b of extra cash grants will ensure our high streets can open their doors with optimism."

The grants, which cover hospitality, accommodation, leisure, personal care and gym businesses in England, will be allocated based on the value of a property. Premises with a rateable value of £15,000 or under will be entitled to £8,000; those with a rateable value between £15,000 and £51,000 will be allowed £12,000; and £18,000 will be made available to properties with a rateable value of £51,000 or over.

Some £425m has also been added to the Additional Restrictions Grant (ARG) fund to support those not entitled to the grants.

UKHospitality chief executive Kate Nicholls stressed the need for the grants to be distributed quickly and emphasised that more help was required for hospitality businesses, including extensions to the 5% VAT rate and the business rates holiday.

She said: "This announcement is great news for hospitality businesses that have been struggling to see how they could survive through to the prime minister's reopening dates. Cash reserves have been severely depleted after a year of closure and restrictions and these grants are a very welcome boost, putting the sector in a better place to restart.

"It is absolutely critical that the grant funding is put into the hands of hospitality business owners as quickly as possible. Businesses are crying out for the cash now so there can be no further delays, which might make it too late for some.

"The government must also clarify once and for all that these grants are not subject to EU State Aid rules and that grants can flow to all businesses that so desperately need them.

"While this is a positive step it needs to be part of a wider package at the Budget that includes an extension to the 5% VAT rate for a full year and a business rates holiday through 2021/22. Without these measures, and full furlough while we reopen, the hospitality sector's recovery will be stunted along with our ability to start tackling unemployment by creating jobs."

Photo: Shutterstock

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