As the government tightens Covid-19 restrictions in the face of a spike in coronavirus cases, the Treasury has said businesses affected by local lockdowns will be eligible for grants to cover some of their loss of earnings
Businesses in England required to close due to local lockdowns or targeted restrictions will now be able to receive grants worth up to £1,500 per property every three weeks, in addition to any other Covid-19 related government support they may be receiving.
To be eligible for the grant, a business must have been required to close due to local Covid-19 restrictions. The largest businesses will receive £1,500 every three weeks they are required to close. Smaller businesses will receive £1,000.
Payments are triggered by a national decision to close businesses in a high incidence area. Each payment will be made for a three-week lockdown period. Each new three-week lockdown period triggers an additional payment.
Any businesses still closed at a national level (eg, nightclubs), will not be eligible for a grant.
If a business occupies a premises with a rateable value less than £51,000 or occupies a property or part of a property subject to an annual rent or mortgage payment of less than £51,000, it will receive £1000.
If a business occupies a premises with a rateable value of exactly £51,000 or above or occupies a property or part of a property subject to an annual rent or mortgage payment of exactly £51,000 or above, it will receive £1500.
Local authorities will also receive an additional 5% top up amount of business support funding to enable them to help other businesses affected by closures which may not be on the business rates list. Payments made to businesses from this discretionary fund can be any amount up to £1500, and may be less than £1000 in some cases.
Local authorities will be responsible for distributing the grants to businesses in circumstances where they are closed due to local interventions.
As with other Covid business grants, local grants to closed businesses will be treated as taxable income.
Steve Barclay, chief secretary to the Treasury, said: ‘These grants provide businesses with a safety net as they temporarily close their doors to help save lives in their local areas.
‘As local economies eventually and carefully re-open after local interventions, our Plan for Jobs is there waiting to help businesses get back on their feet, protect jobs and thrive in the future.’
Speaking in the House of Commons, Barclay also reiterated the recent commitment to roll-out additional payments for people on low incomes who are required to self-isolate in areas with high levels of Covid-19.
Currently these payments are available in Blackburn with Darwen, Pendle, and Oldham as part of an ongoing trial scheme.