Self-Employed and Small Businesses: Coronavirus

Treasury written question – answered on 10th February 2021.

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Photo of Emma Hardy Emma Hardy Shadow Minister (Education)

To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer, what long-term plans his Department has to support small businesses and self-employed people throughout and after the period of covid-19 lockdown restrictions announced in January 2021.

Photo of Kemi Badenoch Kemi Badenoch The Exchequer Secretary, Minister for Equalities

Since March the Government’s priority has been to save lives and protect jobs, businesses, and livelihoods. To support workers and businesses across all sectors the Government has provided an unprecedented package of support worth more than £280 billion.

As of 5 January, England entered nationwide restrictions to manage a new variant of Coronavirus. With these restrictions, businesses in retail, hospitality and leisure facing forced closure in England are eligible for a one-off grant worth up to £9,000 to help them through to spring. This is on top of the existing Local Restriction Support Grant (Closed) which will continue to offer businesses support of up to £3,000 for each month they closed.

Local authorities are being provided with a top up to the Additional Restrictions Grant (ARG) worth £500 million, bringing the total value of ARG to over £1.6 billion. This grant ensures local authorities can support, on a discretionary basis, businesses not eligible for other grants but still affected by restrictions. Business grant policy remains a fully devolved area, with the Devolved Administrations receiving their share of this funding through the Barnett formula in the usual way.

Businesses across the UK can continue to apply for the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme (CJRS), which as of mid-December had supported 9.9 million jobs at the cost of over £45 billion, and its extension until the end of April 2021 will give many businesses and workers much-needed security. The Government has also extended the Self-Employment Income Support Scheme (SEISS) until the end of April 2021, with a boosted package of support providing the self-employed with grants covering 80% of average trading profits. So far SEISS has seen 2.7 million self-employed workers make claims under the scheme totaling £13.7bn.

Businesses needing access to liquidity can also apply for guaranteed loans through various loan schemes, including the Coronavirus Business Interruption Loan Scheme, the Coronavirus Large Business Interruption Loan Scheme and the Bounce Back 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

This support comes on top of billions of pounds’ worth of Rate Reliefs, tax deferrals, and other labour market schemes.

As announced by the Prime Minister on 3 February, a gradual and phased approach to easing England-wide restrictions will be set out in the week beginning 22 February.

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