The chancellor will announce a £5 billion grant scheme in Wednesday’s Budget to help high street shops and businesses that had to close during the Covid lockdown.
Speaking to Sky’s Ridge On Sunday, Rishi Sunak set out how the new Restart Grants will help support firms in the hospitality, leisure, accommodation and retail sectors as they emerge from restrictions.
“We want to support them as they reopen, we want to support them to keep staff, to pay bills, and that is why we’re launching the Restart Grants, which will be paid in April, worth £5 billion but up to £18,000 for particular hospitality businesses on the larger side,” he said.
“Those will be paid through local authorities to over 650,000 business properties across the country to help them as we reopen and get the economy going again.”
Non-essential shops in England will be allowed to reopen from April 12 at the earliest.
The new grants will replace the monthly Local Restrictions Support Grant (Closed) and Local Restrictions Support Grant (Open), which will both close at the end of March.
The Telegraph reported that the Budget will also include options to tax online retail more heavily, including the possibility of a new green tax on every internet delivery, alongside other online tax ideas.
It also said that Sunak is planning to use a Budget in the autumn to increase National Insurance Contributions paid by Britain’s 4.5 million self-employed, “arguing that they too benefited from state support in the pandemic”.
Furthermore, Sunak is expected to announce the continuation of business rates relief and the furlough scheme on Wednesday.
The Guardian reported that the chancellor is under increasing pressure from Conservative “red wall” MPs in the north of England to cut taxes for thousands of retailers.
They are demanding that business rates are reduced from about 50% of market rent to around 35% to help revive town centres.
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