19 January, 2021
As the scourge of Covid-19 continues to disrupt and reshape our daily lives, the Chancellor of the Exchequer, Rishi Sunak, announced a further £4.6bn relief package for businesses in the retail and hospitality sector on 5th January.
The government's support package comes in the form of a one-off grant to businesses that have been forced to close due to the latest Covid related lockdown and that can't effectively operate remotely. The payments will be made on a per property basis and range from £4,000 up to £9,000, depending on the rateable value of the property concerned. The government estimates that over 600,000 properties will benefit from this latest package.
In a measure welcomed by the Institute of Directors, the government also announced a further discretionary fund valued at £594m, which will enable local authorities in England to provide further support to businesses that may not otherwise be entitled to the aforementioned support payment. The other devolved regions have also been allocated additional funding to this end.
The Chancellor has said that the payments are intended to "help businesses get though the months ahead", however the Treasury has not ruled out further support packages being introduced during the next budget on 3rd March.
The British Independent Retailers Association (BIRA) has voiced concerns that, with no date for re-opening in sight, the funding package won't be enough to protect and support the retail sector through the latest lockdown.
There have been calls from the sector to extend the temporary cuts to VAT and to clarify the position in respect of business rates beyond 31st March and the end of the 2020/2021 financial year, so that businesses can better plan for the uncertain future that we are facing.
Although the measures may not go as far as some would have hoped, they will no doubt provide some much-needed respite for the immediate future. As businesses look to survive the ongoing disruption, the guidance and support of trusted advisers becomes more valuable than ever and Forbes Solicitors' team are here to help with any questions you may have.