Sunak announces additional grant funding for hospitality

By James McAllister

- Last updated on GMT

Rishi Sunak announces additional grant funding for hospitality up to £9k Coronavirus lockdown

Related tags: lockdown, Coronavirus, Funding, Government, grants

Hospitality businesses will receive a one-off grant worth up to £9,000 as part of a new funding package announced by Chancellor Rishi Sunak.

The grants, which will be provided on a per-property basis, will be available in addition to the current monthly grants worth up to £3,000 available to closed businesses.

It comes after Prime Minister Boris Johnson announced a third national lockdown for England last night​ ​(4 January), with the nation once again ordered to stay at home. 

Under the lockdown restrictions, hospitality businesses are able to continue offering takeaway, click-and-collect, drive-thru and delivery services. However, venues are banned from selling takeaway alcoholic drinks.

The level of grant support available will be determined by rateable value with £4,000 given to businesses with a rateable value of £15,000 or under; £6,000 for businesses with a rateable value between £15,000 and £51,000; and £9,000 for businesses with a rateable value of over £51,000.

Noticeably, however, there remain glaring gaps in the funding available, with concerns over whether suppliers and the self-employed will be able to access any additional cash during the new lockdown period. 

A further £594m is also being made available for Local Authorities and the Devolved Administrations to support firms not eligible for the grants, with businesses encouraged to apply to their Local Authorities.

"Throughout the pandemic we’ve taken swift action to protect lives and livelihoods and today [5 January] we’re announcing a further cash injection to support businesses and jobs until the Spring," says 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."

Trade body UKHospitality has welcomed the new funding, but says it will only be a sticking plaster for immediate ills and that further support will also be needed.

“This is obviously a very positive step to keep businesses afloat in the immediate term and, for that reason, must be welcomed," says Kate Nicholls, chief executive of UKHospitality.

"The Chancellor has rightly recognised the costs imposed on hospitality businesses by enforced closures and the need for additional support. It is also encouraging that the discretionary grants address the suffering in the supply chains upon which our sector is reliant.

“However, while this announcement is most welcome, make no mistake that this is only a sticking plaster for immediate ills – it is not enough to even cover the costs of many businesses and certainly will not underpin longer-term business viability for our sector.

"To address the inevitable and existential challenges that hospitality faces, we need confirmation of extensions to the business rates holiday and of the 5% VAT rate.

“On its own, today’s support is not enough. Businesses need a longer-term economic plan and it would befit the crisis that we face if the Chancellor brought forward his Budget to make the announcements necessary to reassure businesses and allow them to plan their survival.

"Commercial certainty cannot come soon enough and only the Chancellor can deliver it.”

Related topics: Business

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