Business: Coronavirus

Treasury written question – answered on 11th January 2022.

Alert me about debates like this

Photo of Rachael Maskell Rachael Maskell Shadow Minister (Digital, Culture, Media and Sport)

To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer, what assessment he has made of whether sectors that are financially affected by the most recent covid-19 outbreak require additional covid-19 grants and loans.

Photo of Rachael Maskell Rachael Maskell Shadow Minister (Digital, Culture, Media and Sport)

To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer, whether he plans to provide additional support to local authorities to support people and businesses to respond to the most recent covid-19 outbreak.

Photo of Helen Whately Helen Whately The Exchequer Secretary

On 21st December, the government announced £1 billion of new grant support for the hospitality, leisure and cultural sectors in England to protect jobs and businesses from the adverse economic impacts of the Omicron variant. We are bolstering our package of existing support with additional funding for local authorities to support businesses via:

  • New one-off cash grants of up to £6,000 to support eligible businesses in the hospitality and leisure sectors, totalling nearly £700 million.
  • Over £100 million of new discretionary funding to local authorities to support other impacted businesses, particularly those in the supply chain. This was on top of the £250 million of Additional Restrictions Grant funding held by local authorities in December which had yet to be disbursed to businesses.

This package of grant support also includes an additional £30 million through the Culture Recovery Fund, to support theatres, museums and other vital cultural institutions in England through the temporary disruption this winter.

The government has also announced that the devolved administrations will receive £860 million of up-front funding, to help them continue their response to Omicron. As the new cash grants are England-only, Barnett consequentials will lead to a total of around £150 million for the devolved administrations : £80 million for Scotland, £50 million for Wales, and £25 million for Northern Ireland.

In addition, we have announced:

  • The reintroduction of the Statutory Sick Pay Rebate Scheme to help small and medium-sized employers cover the cost of Covid-related sick absences, covering up to two weeks per employee. This applies UK wide.
  • The government is also waiving late filing and late payment penalties for Income Tax Self-Assessment (ITSA) taxpayers to support cashflow and ease administrative burdens. Taxpayers will not receive a late filing penalty if they file online by 28 February, and will not receive a late payment penalty if they pay their tax in full or set up a payment plan by 1 April.

This additional support is on top of the generous and wide-ranging support package already in place, which the Chancellor announced at the Spring and Autumn Budgets last year. As part of this, small and medium-sized businesses can access government-guaranteed finance through the extended Recovery Loans scheme until June.

To support individuals, the government continues to provide funding to enable local authorities to offer practical and financial support to those who are eligible and require assistance to self-isolate. This includes a £500 Test and Trace Self-Isolation payment available to people on low incomes who are required to self-isolate by NHS Test and Trace, cannot work from home, and in turn will lose income as a result of self-isolation. The scheme is in place until the end of March. The government continues to keep these support arrangements under review.

The government has also put in place a £500 million Household Support Fund to help vulnerable households with costs for essentials such as food, clothing and utilities over the Winter. In England, this funding has been allocated to Local Authorities, who are best placed to direct help to those who need it most.

As we have done throughout the pandemic, we are closely monitoring the impact of COVID-19 on the economy. We will continue to respond appropriately and proportionately to the changing path of the virus.

Does this answer the above question?

Yes0 people think so

No0 people think not

Would you like to ask a question like this yourself? Use our Freedom of Information site.