London Councils responds to the Chancellor's business support announcement

Today the Chancellor announced additional grants for UK retail and hospitality sectors. The £4.6bn relief package includes the introduction of one-off top up grants for retail, hospitality and leisure businesses worth up to £9,000 per property to help businesses through to the Spring.  Alongside this, there are additional discretionary grants for local authorities to support other firms, such as those in the hospitality supply chain.

Cllr Danny Thorpe, London Councils Executive member for Business, Europe and Good Growth, said: 

"Businesses, especially those in significantly affected sectors like hospitality and retail, are desperate for a lifeline. London boroughs are pleased that the government has recognised that without a substantial support package, businesses in these sectors will not survive the latest lockdown restrictions. But they also need confirmation that further support will be offered, especially if this lockdown is extended. For the last 10 months, businesses have faced and will continue to struggle with very real issues unless more support is offered. Large numbers of hospitality sector firms are simply unable to reopen, even under Tier 3 restrictions, and over a third of London’s small businesses reported having no or less than three months of cash reserves.

"The introduction of the £594 million discretionary fund for local authorities to distribute to other affected businesses, such as those in supply chains, is good news. Boroughs have worked tirelessly over the past year to support London’s businesses, delivering well over £1.6 billion of funding via over 108,000 individual grants to date.  London boroughs have proven they can rapidly deliver targeted support via discretionary grants with on average 95% of the grants delivered within three months. However, we need a fair allocation of funding that recognises that some local authorities have a disproportionately high number of businesses located within them.  

"The package announced this morning is intended to support businesses until the Spring, but we are under no illusion that the effects of this pandemic will be over by then. We need a long-term plan to support businesses and to safeguard their future. London boroughs are calling for business certainty going forwards including an immediate announcement of a targeted extension to the Business Rates holiday and extension to VAT reliefs beyond March 2021.  We also need better support for the self-employed, along with proper support for workers forced to self-isolate. This is a marathon, not a sprint and we must reassure businesses that they are not alone in the fight for their future."



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