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UK announces 4.6 billion pound support package for businesses

By Huw Hughes

Jan. 5, 2021

UK chancellor Rishi Sunak has announced a new 4.6 billion pound Covid relief package that will see businesses in the retail, hospitality and leisure sectors receive a one-off grant of up to 9,000 pounds.

The new lockdown grants, which alone are worth 4 billion pounds, will be provided on a per-property basis and are expected to benefit over 600,000 business properties, Sunak said.

An additional 594 million pounds will then be made available to councils and devolved nations to support businesses not covered by the new grants.

It comes after Boris Johnson announced on Monday evening the closure of all non-essential stores in England as part of a new national lockdown amid a drastic increase in cases seen across the UK attributed to the new variant of Covid-19.

A review of the restrictions is expected to take place in England in mid-February “if the situation in hospitals improves”.

UK provides more support for retailers

Just hours before Johnson’s public address, Scotland announced similar restrictions.

Northern Ireland and Wales have already made similar announcements, meaning all non-essential retailers in the UK are now closed.

Chancellor Rishi Sunak said in a statement Tuesday: “The new strain of the virus presents us all with a huge challenge - and whilst the vaccine is being rolled out, we have needed to tighten restrictions further.

“Throughout the pandemic we’ve taken swift action to protect lives and livelihoods and today we’re announcing a further cash injection to support businesses and jobs until the Spring.

“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.”

Photo credit: Pexels, Dominika Gregušová