Business: Government Assistance

Treasury written question – answered on 12th February 2021.

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Photo of Helen Hayes Helen Hayes Labour, Dulwich and West Norwood

To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer, what discussions he has had with the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy on reducing the (a) number and (b) complexity of business support grants currently administered by local authorities; and if he will ensure that future support for businesses at Budget 2021 is channelled through existing support schemes.

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

Several of the current business grant schemes are tied to specific COVID-19 restrictions, such as business closures. The number of business grant schemes currently in operation reflects the changes in restrictions in different parts of England since the schemes were announced last autumn, demonstrating that the Government’s approach to supporting the economy evolves as the public health response does.

It should be noted that where there are multiple versions of guidance in circulation for the same scheme, with different versions covering different time periods, the eligibility criteria for that scheme does not vary between guidance. Local authorities should therefore not see multiple versions of guidance as an obstacle to paying out grants. BEIS officials and ministers are also working closely with local authorities to ensure they have the support and guidance they need to deliver grants to businesses as quickly as possible.

The current business grant schemes reflect the latest national lockdown as announced by the Prime Minister in January, which is necessary to save lives and protect the NHS. In recognition of the fact that these necessary restrictions would lead to further challenges for businesses, we announced an additional £4.6 billion of business grant support. The Government is keeping the business support package under review as the epidemiological situation evolves.

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