Rishi Sunak to offer £5bn 'restart' boost to help struggling businesses reopen

27 February 2021, 22:30 | Updated: 28 February 2021, 07:43

Hundreds of thousands of business will be able to apply for 'restart' grants
Hundreds of thousands of business will be able to apply for 'restart' grants. Picture: PA Images
Ewan Quayle

By Ewan Quayle

Hundreds of thousands of business hit hardest by Covid-19 will able to get 'restart' grants as part of a £5 billion scheme to help them reopen as lockdown is eased.

Rishi Sunak will announce booster payments worth up to £6,000 per premises to help pubs, restaurants, shops and other non-essential retailers welcome back customers and trade safely as measures are gradually lifted.

Hospitality, hotels, gyms, as well as personal care and leisure firms, will be eligible for up to £18,000 per premises as they reopen in the Spring

Read more: Rishi Sunak says UK economy will face 'enormous strains' post-lockdown

The Treasury estimates 230,000 firms will be eligible for the higher band, which will be awarded based on their rateable value, and 450,000 shops will also be able to apply.

The £5 billion is targeted at England, but the devolved nations in Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland will receive an extra £794 million in funding through the Barnett formula.

Chancellor Rishi Sunak has promised billions to struggling shops hit hardest by Covid-19
Chancellor Rishi Sunak has promised billions to struggling shops hit hardest by Covid-19. Picture: PA Images

Mr Sunak told the Mail on Sunday the scheme would provide at-risk businesses with "the support they need to get them through, get them back on their feet and get the tills ringing once again".

Mr Sunak said: "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 £5 billion of extra cash grants will ensure our high street can open their doors with optimism."

Local authorities will be tasked with distributing the grants and will receive the funding in April.

Read more: Failing to support people in self-isolation 'biggest risk to the roadmap'

Read more: Denying NHS workers pay rise in Budget 'kick in teeth', Labour says

The UKHospitality trade body welcomed the plan, saying many firms are "struggling to see how they could survive through" Boris Johnson's road map for reopening, with laws on social distancing set to continue until at least June 21 - the earliest date when nightclubs will be considered for reopening.

Chief executive Kate Nicholls said: "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.

"Businesses are crying out for the cash now so there can be no further delays which might make it too late for some."

Education Secretary sets out details of post-Covid funding for schools

But she said the grants must form part of a wider package that includes an extension to the reduced VAT rate and a business rates holiday.

"Without these measures, and full furlough while we re-open, the hospitality sector's recovery will be stunted along with our ability to start tackling unemployment by creating jobs," she added.

The British Retail Consortium (BRC) joined UKHospitality in calling for clarity on whether the grants will be subject to state aid caps mirroring the EU's, but welcomed the funding as "a vital injection of funding during this extremely challenging period".

Read more: Crowds flock to parks and beaches despite Covid-19 warning from top scientists

BRC chief executive Helen Dickinson did, however, warn that the grants "will only provide temporary relief" and called for an extension to the moratorium on aggressive rent enforcement and to the business rates relief in the Budget.

Federation of Small Businesses national chair Mike Cherry said the grants will "provide a much-needed lifeline", but called for the Chancellor to set out more funding "for those that have been excluded from income support throughout this crisis".

More Latest News

See more More Latest News

Volodymyr Zelensky

Western leaders arrive in Kyiv as Ukraine marks invasion anniversary

Charles has shared a message of support for Ukraine

King Charles hails 'heroism' of Ukrainians as world leaders mark second anniversary of Russian invasion in Kyiv

Junior doctors have gone on strike again

Junior doctors walk out for five-day strike amid long-standing pay row, in latest round of NHS industrial action

Sarah Oliver was killed in the collision

Woman killed by driver who sped through red light while on her phone, as she is jailed for nine years

Spain Building Fire

10th body found in charred remnants of Valencia apartment building

Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva

Brazilian president accuses Israel of committing genocide in Gaza

Hamilton Palace is said to be abandoned

Crumbling Sussex mansion abandoned by millionaire developer 'is UK's biggest slum' and is 'magnet for drug abuse'

Yulia Navalnaya

Navalny widow accuses Putin of mocking Christianity for refusing to return body

Grant Shapps has vowed that Britain will back Ukraine 'to the end'

'We will be there to the end': Shapps vows UK will back Ukraine until war is over, as Britain gives £245m military aid

Exclusive
LBC spoke to a mother and daughter from the war-torn city of Mariupol

Ukrainian refugees accuse Home Office of becoming ‘tired of Ukraine’ after altering resettlement schemes

Rishi Sunak has been urged to strip Liz Truss of the Conservative whip

Labour urges Rishi Sunak to strip former PM Liz Truss of Conservative whip after claim of 'deep state sabotage'

Ursula von der Leyen

EC chief von der Leyen arrives in Kyiv as Ukraine marks invasion anniversary

Mel B

'I went from Spice Girls tour to sharing a bed with my kids': Mel B had just £700 in the bank after leaving abusive ex

King Charles

King Charles chuckles at funny get-well card, one of 7,000 he was sent after cancer diagnosis

Palestine protesters outside Parliament

Palestine protest leader 'wanted Parliament to have to lock its doors', as fears grow for MP's safety

Election 2024 Trump

Trump says criminal indictments boosted his appeal to Black voters