Covid-19: Support for Business

Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy – in the House of Commons on 15th December 2020.

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Photo of Chris Loder Chris Loder Conservative, West Dorset

What steps he is taking to support small businesses in areas under tier 2 covid-19 restrictions.

Photo of Grahame Morris Grahame Morris Labour, Easington

What assessment he has made of the availability of the local restrictions support grant (open) to businesses in areas under tier 2 covid-19 restrictions.

Photo of Nadhim Zahawi Nadhim Zahawi Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy), The Parliamentary Under-Secretary for Health and Social Care

Businesses in tier 2 that are required to close can access payments of up to £1,500 per 14 days of closure. We are giving additional financial support of £1.1 billion to local authorities to support other businesses severely affected by restrictions even though open.

Photo of Chris Loder Chris Loder Conservative, West Dorset

May I gently suggest to the Minister that one of the best ways he will be able to support small businesses in my constituency of West Dorset is to use his influence in discussions within Government tomorrow to reduce West Dorset from tier 2 to tier 1? In the event of that not being possible, could he outline more specifically what the Government will be doing to support the 97% of businesses that are small or micro-sized?

Photo of Nadhim Zahawi Nadhim Zahawi Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy), The Parliamentary Under-Secretary for Health and Social Care

I recognise that the winter months will continue to be extremely tough on many businesses in my hon. Friend’s constituency, but I am confident that the grant programme that we have in place, alongside other measures like the job retention scheme and the support for the self-employed that have been so widely discussed this morning, will continue to deliver that support. An estimated 90% of small and medium-sized business premises in closed retail, hospitality and leisure sectors should, broadly, have their monthly rent covered by the business grant programme.

Photo of Grahame Morris Grahame Morris Labour, Easington

It is essential that the local restrictions support grant is available promptly to businesses and is not subject to a prolonged application process. In anticipation of some areas—hopefully my own in the north-east—moving into tier 2 this week, will the Secretary of State ensure that grants are paid quickly to businesses, including the retrospective grants, particularly to pubs?

Photo of Nadhim Zahawi Nadhim Zahawi Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy), The Parliamentary Under-Secretary for Health and Social Care

The local restrictions support grants, additional restriction grants and Christmas support payments are all available now for businesses through their local authority. I know that the Secretary of State takes these businesses very seriously. Throughout this whole process, since back in March, he made sure that all his Ministers talked to local government to make sure that we do get those payments out promptly.