Financial support available to retailers during the third national lockdown

Retailers are set to receive a one-off grant of up to £9,000 per property as part of new emergency financial support during the third lockdown, Rishi Sunak has announced.

The chancellor said the Treasury will introduce a new £4.6 billion financial support package for those worse hit by the latest restrictions. It is estimated that around 600,000 businesses across the retail, hospitality and leisure sectors will be eligible for this top-up payment.

He said: “The new strain of the virus presents us all with a huge challenge – and whilst the vaccine is being rolled out, we have needed to tighten restrictions further. 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.”

The new one-off grants come in addition to billions of existing business support, including grants worth up to £3,000 for closed businesses, and up to £2,100 per month for impacted businesses once they reopen.

The government has also provided 100 per cent business rates relief for retail, hospitality and leisure businesses, £1.1 billion existing discretionary funding for Local Authorities, the furlough scheme now extended to April and 100 per cent government backed loans, extended until March. 

There will also be a new £594m discretionary fund made available for councils to support other businesses that are not eligible for those grants but are affected by the restrictions. Retailers should apply to their Local Authorities.

The news follows the announcement of a third national UK lockdown, which will continue for at least seven weeks. The British Retail Consortium estimates the closure of non-essential stores will cost retailers £2 billion per week in lost sale and warns that the consequences will be severe for many businesses.

So far the UK government has delivered £280 billion worth of support during the pandemic, ranging from business grants to additional funding for the NHS. The latest grants will take the support offered during the third lockdown to £9 billion, including the monthly £3,000 grants introduced in November. This doesn’t take the cost of the furlough scheme into account.

While industry insiders have welcomed the new grant announcement, many are concerned that it won’t be enough to save some of the retailers that have been worst hit by the pandemic.

Key information

  • the one-off top-ups will be granted to closed businesses as follows:
  • £4,000 for businesses with a rateable value of £15,000 or under
  • £6,000 for businesses with a rateable value between £15,000 and £51,000
  • £9,000 for businesses with a rateable value of over £51,000
  • any business which is legally required to close, and which cannot operate effectively remotely, is eligible for a grant
  • business support is a devolved policy and therefore the responsibility of the devolved administrations, which will receive additional funding as a result of these announcements in the usual manner:
  • the Scottish Government will receive £375 million
  • the Welsh Government will receive £227 million
  • the Northern Ireland Executive will receive £127 million
  • this will contribute to the funding which has already been guaranteed by the UK Government, to continue to provide the devolved administrations the certainty they need to plan for their COVID-19 response in the months ahead
  • small businesses in the devolved administrations should also be able to benefit from other UK-wide measures in the government’s unprecedented package of support for business, including the various business lending schemes (where the repayment terms were made easier as part of the Winter Economy Plan), and the extension of the Self Employment Income Support Scheme

How to apply

Visit your local council’s website to find out how to apply:

Find the website for your local council.

PHOTO: Elena Mozhvilo on Unsplash