This follows Prime Minister Boris Johnson’s announcement on Monday that England will enter a third national lockdown similar to that in March 2020, until at least mid-February in an attempt to contain the new highly transmissible COVID-19 variant and prevent the NHS from becoming overwhelmed by the recent surge in virus cases.
As part of the new lockdown, Brits have been ordered to stay at home, schools will close and those who are clinically extremely vulnerable have been told to shield again. People will only be permitted to leave their house for essential reasons such as shopping for food and medicine, outdoor exercise, and work, when they are unable to do so from home.
Full details on the new rules are available on the gov.uk/coronavirus
The Chancellor has confirmed that closed businesses in the retail, hospitality and leisure sectors will receive a one-off grant worth up to £9,000 per property as part of the new lockdown grant scheme.
The extra funding, which is on top of existing £3,000 grants, aims to mitigate the impacts of the latest lockdown and help businesses through to the Spring, when the vaccine rollout to the four most vulnerable groups in the UK has been completed and restrictions will be eased.
The additional grants will be distributed to closed businesses as follows:
- £4k for businesses with a rateable value of £15k or under
- £6k for businesses with a rateable value between £15k and £51k
- £9k for businesses with a rateable value of over £51k
A further £594 million discretionary fund will also be made available for Local Authorities and the Devolved Administrations, to support other impacted businesses not eligible for the grants.
Is this enough?
The additional support is a positive step to help businesses through the coming months and has been widely welcomed by the sector as it acknowledges the difficulties that businesses face in light of the latest lockdown.
Overall, the new scheme is expected to benefit over 600,000 business properties across the UK. However, the amounts are in reality not enough to cover the costs of many businesses who will be unable to trade for the foreseeable future.
Whilst the sector remains resilient, a third lockdown is yet another blow and indicates to operators that they are still a long way from being able to reopen and begin recovery. Despite this, many businesses want to prove useful during this time and have begun coming forward to offer their locations as temporary vaccination centres with the support of UKHospitality, to assist in the rapid and extensive roll out of the vaccine and get us back to normality as quickly as we can.
The key trade body has called for the government to announce a longer-term economic plan and roadmap for recovery to reassure businesses, as they try to plan for their survival, and we are working closely to support their efforts.
We share the sectors concerns that support beyond April, when the business rates holiday, lower VAT rates, furlough scheme and moratorium on rent forfeiture end must be a key focus and urge the government to respond. Challenges are likely to emerge for operators when the wall of deferred rents and other debts that have built up must be addressed and support is no longer available.
We will continue to monitor further announcements and share updates from the government over the coming months.
We have a large and experienced team on hand who can offer advice and help navigate your business through these difficult times.
Please get in touch if we can be of any support to your business at this time.
Stephen Owens FRICS MCIArb
Managing Director – Pubs & Restaurants
T +44 (0) 113 389 2726
M +44 (0) 796 800 4550
Managing Director – Hotels
T: +44 20 7227 0714
M: +44 7921 063 548
Director – Head of Leisure & Development
T +44 (0) 113 389 2710
M +44 (0) 7831 263 529