A £5bn scheme for High Street shops and hospitality firms in England has been unveiled, with Rishi Sunak promising more support to come for the economy.
Ahead of Wednesday’s Budget, the chancellor said the grants, worth as much as £18,000 per firm, will help them reopen as England eases lockdown.
Nearly 700,000 shops, restaurants, hotels, hair salons, gyms and other businesses in England, will be eligible for the so-called “restart grants”, to be distributed directly to firms by local authorities from April. It will replace the current monthly grant system.
The funding takes the total spent on direct grants to businesses during the pandemic to £25bn, the Treasury said. The devolved nations will receive equivalent extra funding.
Non-essential shops in England, along with outdoor hospitality, will be allowed to reopen from 12 April at the earliest.
Other announcements ahead of Mr Sunak’s annual economic speech on Wednesday, have included:
• a new government-backed mortgage guarantee scheme for home buyers with small deposits
• an “elite” visa to encourage high-skilled workers including researchers, engineers and scientists to come to the UK
• £126m for traineeships and a “flexi-job” apprenticeship in England
• and a “world-first” green savings bond for retail investors to help boost the UK’s transition to net zero emissions.
The BID will communicate instructions for how to apply for these grants once details are released.