To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer, if he will provide financial support for businesses which are not required to close under covid-19 restrictions but are experiencing a loss of trade as a result of the covid-19 outbreak; and if he will make a statement.
Since March the Government’s priority has been to save lives and protect jobs, businesses, and livelihoods. The Government has supported people and businesses via an unprecedented package of financial support worth more than £280 billion.
Businesses can continue to apply for loans under a number of business loan schemes, including the Bounce Back Loan Scheme, Coronavirus Business Interruption Loan Scheme, and Coronavirus Large Business Interruption Loan Scheme, until the end of March 2021. Over 1.4 million small and medium sized companies have received government-backed loans, worth over £68 billion.
Businesses forced to close as a result of the current England-wide restrictions are eligible for one-off grants of up to £9,000 on top of existing monthly grants under the Local Restrictions Support Grant (Closed). In addition, however, England’s local authorities have received a top-up worth £500m to their allocation from the Additional Restrictions Grant (ARG), which has already provided local authorities with £1.1 billion.
This funding ensures that local authorities can make discretionary grants to businesses which are not eligible for the LRSG (Closed) but which are nonetheless experiencing a severe impact on their business due to the national lockdown. Local authorities will run application schemes for the ARG, including for the £500m top-up, and will have significant discretion when it comes to deciding which businesses receive payments. Business grant policy is a fully devolved area, but the Devolved Administrations will receive their share of this funding through the Barnett formula in the usual way.
This support comes on top of billions of pounds’ worth of Rate Reliefs, tax deferrals, and other labour market schemes.
The Chancellor made a Statement on the economy and comprehensive economic plan on 11 January and will set out the next phase of the plan to protect jobs in the Budget on 3 March 2021.