Speaking to the House of Commons today, the Chancellor confirmed firms in high coronavirus alert level areas will be eligible to apply for grants worth up to £2,100 a month – even if they remain open. The move marks a considerable turnaround for Rishi Sunak after months of resisting calls to extend the generosity of Government support schemes.
He told the Commons: “Let me speak first to the people of Liverpool, Lancashire, South Yorkshire and Greater Manchester and indeed other areas moving into or already living under heightened health restrictions.
“I understand your frustration, people need to know this is not forever.
“These are temporary restrictions to help control the spread of the virus.
“There are difficult days and weeks ahead, but we will get through this together.
Tier 2 grants: Businesses can now get £2,100 per month
“People are not on their own. We have an economic plan that will protect the jobs and livelihoods of the British people wherever they live and whatever their situation.”
He added: “I’ve always said that we must be ready to adapt our financial support as the situation evolves, and that is what we are doing today.
“These changes mean that our support will reach many more people and protect many more jobs.
“I know that the introduction of further restrictions has left many people worried for themselves, their families, and communities.
Tier 2 grants: Grants will be available through the local authority
“I hope the Government’s stepped-up support can be part of the country pulling together in the coming months.”
Mr Sunak explained he was stepping up support for those companies already hurt by working in stricter restrictions to prevent the spread of COVID-19.
The Treasury has estimated the new grants could benefit about 150,000 businesses in England.
The grant is applicable to bars, pubs, restaurants, hotels, B&B’s, and other struggling parts of the industry.
The grants will come on top of higher levels of additional business support for local authorities moving into Tier 3.
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How does the grant work and how do I apply?
Any business in Tier 2 with its business restricted, such as hospitality, accommodation, and leisure, can now claim a monthly grant of £2,100.
This will also be backdated to August.
This is 70 percent of the £3,000 grant available for business closed in the highest Tier 3 level.
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Cash grants will go to local authorities which will decide how much goes where, with applications set to be opened by each local authority.
The Chancellor also announced other changes to the Job Support Scheme, due to replace furlough in a matter of days, and the Self Employed Income Support scheme.
The Job Support Scheme has been made more generous, with employers only contributing five percent of wage bills for employees on days not worked.
Employees will also only have to work 20 percent of the week as opposed to half of their usual hours – so that’s one day a week for those on full-time contracts.
The SEISS scheme will also be made more generous, with the Government covering an average of 40 percent of lost profits, compared with the current 20 percent.