Budget to include £5bn 'restart' grant scheme for hospitality and High Street businesses

By James McAllister

- Last updated on GMT

Budget to include £5bn 'restart' grant scheme for hospitality and High Street businesses

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

Chancellor Rishi Sunak will unveil a £5bn grant scheme in his Budget this week, which will give hospitality businesses access to payments worth up to £18,000.

The so-called 'restart' grants will be available on a per premises basis and will cover hospitality, hotels, gyms, personal care and leisure firms.

Non-essential retail will also be entitled to grants under the scheme, which will be limited to £6,000 to reflect that the sector will be able to reopen earlier under the Government's roadmap out of lockdown​. 

The grants for hospitality will be allocated based on the value of a property.

Properties with a rateable value of £15,000 or under will receive £8,000; those with a rateable value between £15,000 and £51,000 will get £12,000; and businesses with properties that have a rateable value of £51,000 or over will be entitled to £18,000.

An additional £425m has also been added to the Additional Restrictions Grant (ARG) fund to help those not receiving the grants. 

The £5bn is targeted at England, but the devolved nations in Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland will receive an extra £794m in funding through the Barnett formula.

Trade body UKHospitality has welcomed the new package of grant support, but has highlighted the urgent need for the grants to reach all hospitality businesses as quickly as possible. 

It notes that previous grants have been delayed by bureaucratic processes, with businesses reporting that only 37% of grants announced in January had been paid out a month later.

“This announcement is great news for hospitality businesses that have been struggling to see how they could survive through to the Prime Minister’s reopening dates," says Kate Nicholls, chief executive of UKHospitality.

"Cash reserves have been severely depleted after a year of closure and restrictions and these grants are a very welcome boost, putting the sector in a better place to restart.

“It is absolutely critical that the grant funding is put into the hands of hospitality business owners as quickly as possible. Businesses are crying out for the cash now so there can be no further delays which might make it too late for some."

Nicholls adds that the Government must also clarify that these grants will not be subject to EU State Aid rules.

She has also reaffirmed her calls for the Chancellor to confirm an extension to the 5% VAT rate for a full year and a business rates holiday through 2021/22 in his Budget

"Without these measures, and full furlough while we re-open, the hospitality sector’s recovery will be stunted along with our ability to start tackling unemployment by creating jobs."

The Night Time Industries Association (NTIA) echoes Nicholl's calls, saying that a strong Budget is vital component if the sector is to survive the prolonged lockdown closure.

“The early communication by the Government on the £5bn grant scheme for High Streets has been received tentatively and is lacking some considerable detail," says Michael Kill, CEO of the NTIA.

"There is still concern over how much impact the Budget will have for specific sectors and a build in anxiety as we await the full communication from the Chancellor.”

“It is clear the Chancellor has an extremely difficult job in balancing the Budget between regeneration and recuperation. We would urge the Government to consider some of the hardest hit industries, many of which have been unable to trade at all for over 12 months.

"These businesses and individuals have continued to be excluded from a Government provision, and require proportionate and specific support, not broad brush provision to survive this very difficult period leading to re engagement.”

Chancellor Rishi Sunak will deliver his Budget in the House of Commons on Wednesday (3 March).

Related topics: Business

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