UK Chancellor Unveils New Support Package

New multi-billion pound support package for retail, leisure and hospitality businesses unveiled

Businesses in the retail, hospitality and leisure sectors will receive up to £9,000 per property in one-off grants to help them through the new national lockdown, Chancellor Rishi Sunak announced today (January 5).

He also announced a discretionary fund of £594 million for other businesses that might be affected by the new restrictions, which come into force at midnight tonight across England and Scotland.

The new restrictions were announced for England and Scotland, however First Minister Arlene Foster said that a new set of strict measures would also be introduced across NI. These are due to be confirmed shortly.

Announcing the new £4.6 billion support package, Mr Sunak said: “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.”

Travel agents with shops are likely to be eligible for the one-off grants, which start at £4,000 rising up to £9,000 depending on their rateable value.

An ABTA spokesperson said: “It’s right, of course, that the Government takes steps to control the spread of the virus. But this needs to come with the right measures to support travel businesses which have little or no means of operating.

“For ten months now, many travel businesses have been unable to generate income – putting jobs and businesses at risk – and the latest Government measures mean this is unlikely to change soon.

“Yet, unlike other sectors such as hospitality, there hasn’t been any tailored financial support from the UK Government to get travel businesses through the crisis.”

Advantage CEO Julia Lo Bue-Said said: “We remain hopeful that the anecdotal feedback indicates some pent up demand which we hope will translate to a bounce back for the industry post-Easter.

“We are a resilient industry and we know the British public will want to travel as soon as it’s safe to do so.

“What’s important is they have the confidence to make bookings at a time of terrible uncertainty. The effective roll out of the vaccine is critical to the resumption of normal life and if this happens on schedule we could see confidence start to slowly return.”