To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer, if he will advise local authorities to apply discretion to the definition of the retail, hospitality and leisure industry to enable them to offer support through the Retail, Hospitality and Leisure Grant Fund to small businesses affected by closures in those industries during the covid-19 outbreak.
Small businesses occupying properties for retail, hospitality or leisure purposes were likely to be particularly affected by COVID-19 due to their reliance on customer footfall, and the fact that they were less likely than larger businesses to have sufficient cash reserves to meet their high fixed property-related costs. The Retail, Hospitality and Leisure Grant Fund was intended to help small businesses in this situation. The Government provided Local Authorities with detailed information in the Expanded Retail Discount Guidance regarding which kinds of business properties could be classified as retail, hospitality or leisure properties. Local Authorities were responsible for applying this guidance correctly when making grants.
The RHLGF, along with the other business grant schemes, closed to new applicants on 28 August. As many businesses are now able to reopen, and consumer footfall is increasing, it is right that we wind up the grant schemes.