Retailers to receive £9k lockdown grants

Retailers will receive grants of £9,000 to support them through the latest national lockdown restrictions, the Chancellor has said.

Rishi Sunak has announced that retailers, leisure and hospitality firms will receive one-off grants as part of a £4.6 billion package of measures aimed at protecting jobs through the third nationwide coronavirus lockdown announced yesterday evening by prime minister Boris Johnson.

The latest restrictions will close all non-essential businesses until at least the February half term in seven weeks’ time, Johnson said, as the government seeks to control the spread of a new variant strain of COVID-19.

Responding to the closure of non-essential retailers, the British Retail Consortium said the consequences of a third lockdown could be severe, with the industry facing a loss of £2 billion per week in sales.

Helen Dickinson, chief executive of BRC, said:“The continued rise in Covid cases over the Christmas period is a significant cause for concern, and we understand the need for the government to act.

“The government's testing programme and a rapid roll-out of vaccines are the key to bringing an end to this cycle of lockdowns, and we have made clear to government that the retail industry is willing to make its resources available to support this effort.

"Already, 178,000 retail jobs have been lost in 2020, and with over 250,000 retail staff currently on furlough, that number could increase dramatically in the new year,” she said, adding: ““The biggest difference the government can make is to extend business rates relief from April for those hardest hit by repeated lockdowns."

Businesses in the retail, leisure and hospitality sectors will receive a grant of up to £9,000 per property, with an estimated 600,000 properties expected to receive the support.

Up to £4,000 will be available for premises with a rateable value of £15,000 or under, £6,000 for those worth between £15,000 and £51,000 and £9,000 for properties with a value of over £51,000.

The chancellor said: "Throughout the pandemic we've taken swift action to protect lives and livelihoods and today we're announcing a further cash injection to support businesses and jobs until the spring.

“This will help businesses to get through the months ahead - and crucially it will help sustain jobs, so workers can be ready to return when they are able to reopen."

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