Lockdown 3.0: Updated support for businesses

Lockdown3.0: Updated support for businesses

Lockdown 3.0 Update

Summary of new measures for businesses announced on 4th January

In response to the latest national lockdown, HM Treasury has announced an extension of several of the support schemes for businesses affected by the pandemic. Chris Dobbs provides an overview.

This is not quite the March 2019 lockdown; businesses which were required to close then are allowed to remain open and all businesses should double-check against Government guidance before making the decision to close their premises. Hospitality, retail and leisure will, as throughout the last year, be the most adversely affected and these latest announcements are designed to try and combat that:

  • A one-off top up grant for retail, hospitality and leisure businesses worth up to £9,000 per property
  • £594 million discretionary fund also made available to support other impacted businesses
  • £1.1 billion further discretionary grant funding for Local Authorities to allow for Local Restriction Support Grants worth up to £3,000 a month
  • The existing extension of the furlough scheme

What Are One Off Grants?

Qualifying businesses will be eligible for:

  • £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

The money will be made available by local authorities and we will update when the links are available.

What Other Support Is There?

The furlough scheme was extended at the end of last year to April 2020 and this remains an option on the same rules for all eligible businesses and employees. Trade unions are actively encouraging businesses to consider furloughing employees who must now provide childcare commitments due to school closures.

The ban on commercial tenant evictions was extended until the end of March.

Government backed loans were also extended to March for businesses affected by the pandemic or covid-related restrictions.

COVID Business Support Measures: A solicitor's view

The announcements are likely to provide some welcome relief to those businesses most affected by the restrictions and there is more certainty now than there was in March last year. That said, the Government seems to be banking on a rapid roll-out of the vaccine and these measures may need to go further if the ambitious vaccination target is not achieved by the next review in February.

There will be criticism that this still does not support the self-employed or smaller businesses enough and there remains the concern that the low rate of SSP disincentivises people to self-isolate properly.

COVID advice and guidance: Stay up to date

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