In a statement by the Chief Secretary to the Treasury last week, the government announced a local government lockdown business support scheme which will allow businesses in England that are required to close due to local lockdown restrictions to claim grants worth up to £1,500 every three weeks.
The scheme will offer little in the way of comfort for North East businesses trying to adjust to the new regional restrictions which came into force today - many of whom, particularly those in the hospitality sector, will be more concerned with the reduction in footfall to their business and the impact of the 10pm curfew, rather than the prospect of any enforced closure - however it is important to be aware of the support packages which are available should the situation change.
Full details of the scheme can be found on the UK Government’s website here but we have provided a summary of the key points below:-
- The largest businesses (those which occupy premises with a rateable value of £51,000 or above or which occupy a property or part of a property subject to an annual rent or mortgage payment of £51,000 or above) will receive £1,500.
- For smaller businesses (those which occupy premises with a rateable value less than £51,000 or which occupy a property or part of a property subject to an annual rent or mortgage payment of less than £51,000), the grant will be reduced to £1,000.
- Payments are triggered by a national decision to close businesses in a high incidence area.
- Any businesses which are still closed at a national level (e.g. nightclubs) will not be eligible.
- Each payment will be made for a three-week lockdown period. Each new three-week lockdown period triggers an additional payment.
- 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 £1,500, and may be less than £1,000 in some cases.
- Local authorities will be responsible for distributing the grants to businesses in circumstances where they are closed due to local interventions. Further eligibility criteria may be determined by local authorities.
- As with other Covid-19 business grants, local grants to closed businesses will be treated as taxable income.
For further advice or assistance on any issues facing your business at this time, please contact our Switchboard on 0191 384 2441 and they will direct you to an appropriate member of our team.