New National Lockdown grants announced

5th January 2021

Businesses in the retail, hospitality and leisure sectors will receive a one-off grant worth up to £9,000 to coincide with the Prime Minister's announcement of a new national lockdown in England to tackle the growing cases of Covid-19 in the country.

The English lockdown regulations are available here. There are similar lockdowns in all the devolved administrations.

New support for businesses:

  • There is a new one-off top up grant for retail, hospitality and leisure firms worth up to £9,000 per property to help businesses through to the Spring
  • A £594 million discretionary fund is also available to support other impacted businesses
  • This is on top of the £1.1 billion further discretionary grant funding for Local Authorities, Local Restriction Support Grants worth up to £3,000 a month, and extension of the furlough scheme to 30 April 2021.

These business will be closed until at least February half-term in order to help control Covid-19.

The new grant is provided on a per-property basis, and is expected to help over 600,000 business properties, worth £4 billion in total across all nations of the UK.

A further £594 million is also being made available for Local Authorities and the devolved administrations to support other businesses not eligible for the grants, that might be affected by the restrictions.

Businesses should apply to their Local Authorities.

The new one-off grants come in addition to other business support, including grants worth up to £3,000 for closed businesses, and up to £2,100 per month for impacted businesses once they reopen.

The government has also provided 100% business rates relief for retail, hospitality and leisure businesses, £1.1 billion existing discretionary funding for Local Authorities, the furlough scheme now extended to April and 100% government backed loans, extended until March.

Further information

The one-off top-ups will be granted to closed businesses as follows:

  • £4,000 for businesses with a rateable value of £15,000 or under
  • £6,000 for businesses with a rateable value between £15,000 and £51,000
  • £9,000 for businesses with a rateable value of over £51,000

Small businesses in the devolved administrations should also be able to benefit from other UK-wide measures in the government’s package of support for business, including the various business lending schemes (where the repayment terms were made easier as part of the Winter Economy Plan), and the extension of the Self Employment Income Support Scheme

Is it enough?

Many firms will welcome this additional support, but there will also be many who will find it is not enough, particularly when they have to pay rent (and maybe arrears), national insurance and workplace pension contributions for furloughed workers, and other expenses.

Other support already in place includes ten-year repayment periods for government-backed loans, deferment of VAT and self-assessment liabilities and a reduced VAT rate of 5% for tourism and hospitality.

Budget 3 March 2021

As previously announced, the Budget will be held on 3 March 2021, when the Chancellor says he will take the opportunity to review the range of government support available to businesses to counter the impact of Covid-19.

Business groups are pressing the Chancellor to offer more support for businesses in the coming year, including extending business rates relief from April for those hardest hit by repeated lockdowns.

Check out our Business after COVID-19: Transition Knowledge Hub for more guidance and advice on managing the pandemic.

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