The Chancellor has announced that non-essential retailers that have had to close as a result of further restrictions will receive up to Â£9,000 per property. This is a one-off payment that is expected to cost the Treasury Â£4bn. The package is expected to include a discretionary fund of Â£594m for other businesses that have been affected by the lockdown. Â
The one-off grants to closed businesses will mean up to Â£4,000 for premises with a rateable value of Â£15,000 or under, Â£6,000 for those worth between Â£15,000 and Â£51,000 and Â£9,000 for properties valued at over Â£51,000.
It is unclear as to when businesses can apply for the funding and we will inform you as soon as we know more.
Country put in tier 5 till end of February
The Prime Minister addressed the nation last night following Scotland by putting the country into a total lockdown. All non-essential retail and hospitality are closed (no different to tier four), Schools closed and mixing outside of your household (unless part of a support bubble) are all banned as is leaving your home with the exception of exercise and essential travel. You are permitted to go to work where it is unreasonable to do so from home. The rules essentially follow the restrictions the country faced in March. Lastly and importantly for retail click & collect services can still operate, in addition Garden Centre’s are still regarded as an essential retailer and can remain open.
The PM did not give any indication when the rules would be reviewed, but he said: ‘If our understanding of the virus doesn’t change dramatically, once again, if the rollout of the vaccine continues to be successful, if deaths start to fall as the vaccine takes effect and â€“ critically â€“ if everyone plays their part by following the rules, then I hope we can steadily move out of lockdown, reopening schools after the February half-term and starting cautiously to move regions down the tiers.’
Earlier in the day Scotland was put into total lockdown for the duration of January which will be reviewed at the end of the month, Wales has been in lockdown since the 20th December and Northern Ireland was already two weeks into in to a six week lockdown.
Helen Dickinson, chief executive of the BRC (British Retail Consortium) had this to say:
â€œThe 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. Retailers have been playing their part to make stores safe, spending hundreds of millions of pounds on coronavirus safety measures, including implementing social distancing measures and increased cleaning procedures.
â€œThe 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.
“The consequences of these latest restrictions – with non-essential retail already closed for several weeks – will be severe for many businesses who yet again face losing Â£2bn per week in sales. 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.â€¯â€¯
“Retailers want to trade their way to recovery but if they are forced to close then further financial support will be needed or many businesses will go bust and thousands of viable jobs will be lost. The biggest difference the government can make is to extend business rates relief from April for those hardest hit by repeated lockdowns.”
It is yet to be seen whether the government will provide any further financial relief for businesses beyond what is already offered.
The new rules in England take place from midnight tonight.
For further information contact your local authority or visit www.gov.uk