Chancellor Rishi Sunak has announced a £5bn Restart Grant scheme to help any small business badly impacted by Covid-19 – and support them as they get ready to reopen.
The multi-billion pound package of support will replace the monthly Local Restrictions Support Grant (for open and closed businesses) due to end later this month, and will bring the total of direct cash grants provided by the government to business to £25bn.
The government will provide “Restart Grants” on a per premises basis with the aim to help businesses through to June 21 when, if everything goes to plan, all restrictions will be lifted. The one-off grants are worth up to:
- £6,000 (per premises) for non-essential retail businesses first to open on April 12;
- and up to £18,000 (depending on their rateable value) for the largest businesses that will help hospitality, accommodation, leisure, personal care and gym businesses.
Speaking to the Financial Times, Sunak said: “There’s now light at the end of the tunnel and this £5bn of extra cash grants will ensure businesses on our high street can open their doors with optimism.”
On Wednesday’s Budget, Mr Sunak also announced that other small business support schemes, such as the furlough scheme, will be extended until the end of September. Please see our previous blog for a breakdown of the new measures following the Budget.
How can you access the Restart Grant?
It’s anticipated that the Restart Grant will help over 700,000 small businesses. Once again, these grants will be administered by local authorities (which are also being given additional funding that they can use on a discretionary basis). According to government guidance, your business may be eligible if it:
- is based in England;
- occupies property on which it pays business rates (and is the ratepayer);
- has been required to close because of the national lockdown from 5 January 2021 onwards, or between 5 November 2020 and 2 December 2020;
- has been unable to provide its usual in-person customer service from its premises.
Local authorities across England will also receive an additional £425 million to distribute grants to businesses who aren’t eligible for a Restart Grant, but are still impacted because of lockdown restrictions.
Business rates holiday has been extended until June 2021, meaning firms in leisure, hospitality and retail will have another three months free of business rates.
Sunak said: “For the remaining nine months of the year, business rates will still be discounted by two-thirds, up to a value of £2 million for closed businesses, with a lower cap for those who have been able to stay open.”
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