As more companies are facing hardship as a result of new local restrictions around the UK, the Chancellor has announced a new package of measures for businesses.
In his statement, Rishi Sunak has announced that grants of up to £2,100 per month are now available to affected companies in the leisure and hospitality sector in Tier 2 areas.
In further news, grants available to the self-employed have now doubled to up to £3,750 and the Job Support Scheme has also been amended for all firms.
Employer contributions have been reduced to five per cent for the hours staff are not working due to lower demand and employees will now only have to work 20 per cent of their hours to qualify for support. For those firms in Tier 3, additional support is also available.
Paul Britton, Chief Executive Officer of Thames Valley Chamber of Commerce, said: “For those businesses in Thames Valley communities who are anxious about the prospect of new Tier 2 restrictions coming into force, this is a welcome intervention from the Chancellor”
“We continue to express our concerns on a local and national level for businesses in the leisure, tourism and hospitality sector and those business in the local supply chain who are seeing a dramatic loss in demand without the support to match.
“Although this is an improvement on the support that has been available, it is vital that businesses can access the help they need quickly and easily, so they are supported through the difficult time ahead. Financial support is welcome, but there is no alternative for businesses being able to trade with confidence.
“Here at the Chamber we are fully supportive of effective measures to help prevent the spread of the virus and we will continue to campaign for information to be given quickly to businesses across the Thames Valley. Businesses need better guidance on when the restrictions will be lifted so they can plan ahead, it is not a simple matter in stopping trade and restarting.”
British Chambers of Commerce Director General Adam Marshall said: “This is a very significant improvement in the support available to businesses struggling with the impact of increasing restrictions across the UK.
“Chambers have been campaigning for greater support for businesses experiencing big falls in demand as a result of new restrictions, and a number of the steps announced today, including the lowering of employer contributions and the number of hours worked needed to qualify for the scheme, respond directly to our calls.
“Backdated grants for hospitality firms in tier two and enhanced grants for the self-employed will go some way to alleviating pressure on many of those who have been particularly vulnerable to the economic impact of the pandemic.
“Chambers have called for support to be truly commensurate with the restrictions imposed on businesses as part of our five tests for Coronavirus measures. The true test of these reforms will be whether they help businesses on the ground get through the difficult months ahead. Chambers of Commerce will continue to work with the Treasury to ensure that support is responsive and preserves businesses and livelihoods.”