There was good news over the weekend for the hospitality sector with Chancellor Rishi Sunak announcing a further £5 billion grant scheme for businesses trading in the hospitality, accommodation, leisure, personal care and gym sectors. The grants will be worth up to £18,000 and will be awarded in a similar vein to previous grants taking rateable value into account, as follows:
- Premises with a rateable value of £15,000 or less will be entitled to £8,000
- Rateable values between £15,000 – £51,000 will be entitled to £12,000
- Properties with rateable value of more than £51,000 will be entitled to £18,000.
This is a welcome boost for the industry as the timeline to re-opening is tantalisingly close but for some businesses it’s another 3 and half months with nothing going into the tills.
I was personally quite happy to see that the Additional Restrictions Grant is to receive a further £425m of funding. This grant is for businesses who do not operate from a premise with a rateable value, and this quite sizeable chunk of small businesses have really been struggling for support throughout the pandemic.
There are also noises being made to lobby the government into extending the 5% VAT rate as well as the business rates holiday. Whether these will be successful remains to be seen but we only have to wait a couple of days for the budget now so we’ll know soon enough.
The only thing left for Rishi to do now is to get that cash into the hands of business owners ASAP. Lots of businesses are strapped for cash and whilst looking forward to getting people through their doors again, making it to that point is going to be a struggle without the help that has been promised.
I would also like to see the furlough scheme extended beyond the end of April as is planned at the moment. We need to help reduce unemployment by offering employers the chance to retain staff while confidence grows in the public to get back to going out and going out out! Without a furlough extension, there is a fear that unemployment could rise even sharper than it is at the moment making recovery more difficult.
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