The UK Finance Ministry has announced a new aid package worth £4.6 billion ($6.2 billion) to support firms hit by a renewed Covid-19 lockdown that is likely to last until March.
Retail, hospitality and leisure companies will get new one-off grants worth up to £9,000 to avoid going broke during the first months of 2021, according to the country’s finance minister Rishi Sunak.
“This will help businesses to get through the months ahead – and crucially it will help sustain jobs, so workers can be ready to return when they are able to reopen,” Sunak said.
The measure comes on top of existing grants of £3,000 per month for businesses required to close their doors due to the coronavirus restrictions introduced by the authorities. The fresh payments are aimed at supporting 600,000 firms across the UK.
The Finance Ministry also made a further £594 million cash pot of discretionary funding available to businesses in other sectors impacted by the coronavirus lockdown.
Earlier, the Federation of Small Business said the level of grants “is off the mark by an order of magnitude,” and demanded that business rates relief should be prolonged through the tax year that ends in April.
The head of the Make UK manufacturing lobby group, Stephen Phipson, called for a comprehensive plan for the next six months that will provide certainty, stability and confidence including targeted support for critical sectors.
As it stands, the major state support program that provides workers with payoffs of around 80 percent of their wages is set to close at the end of April, as well as aid to the self-employed. Business loan programs are due to close to new entrants at the end of March.
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