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Small Businesses: Coronavirus

Question for Treasury

UIN HL2184, tabled on 19 July 2021

To ask Her Majesty's Government what plans they have to offer financial support to small businesses who will keep COVID-19 capacity limits in place.

Answered on

30 July 2021

Throughout the pandemic, the Government has sought to protect people’s jobs and livelihoods while also supporting businesses and public services across the UK.

To do this, the Government has put in place an economic package of support totalling £352 billion through the furlough and self-employed income support schemes, support for businesses through grants and loans, and business rates and VAT relief. Many of these schemes were extended at the Budget to provide continued support to businesses.

In particular, the Government has made up to £25 billion in cash grants available over the course of the pandemic, to protect businesses in England and the jobs they support. Over £2 billion of discretionary business grant funding has been provided to local authorities via the Additional Restrictions Grant (ARG) fund, including a £425 million top-up announced at the Budget. A significant proportion of this £2 billion is still with local authorities and available to be allocated to businesses in need of support.

Business Rates relief for retail, hospitality & leisure will continue until next April. Eligible businesses have paid no business rates for 15 months from 1 April 2020, and thanks to the 66% relief, which took effect on 1 July 2021, an estimated 90% of eligible businesses will see a 75% reduction in the business rates bill for the entire financial year.

The Recovery Loan Scheme (RLS) ensures viable businesses, including small businesses, continue to have access to Government-backed finance needed throughout 2021. The scheme will run until 31 December 2021. The scheme operates UK-wide, providing an 80% guarantee to lenders for term loans, overdrafts, and invoice and asset finance.

To continue supporting the cash flow and viability of around 150,000 businesses and to protect over 2.4 million jobs across the UK, the Government has extended the temporary reduced rate of VAT (5%) to goods and services supplied by the tourism and hospitality sectors to the end of September. To help businesses manage the transition back to the standard rate, a 12.5% rate will then apply for a further six months, until 31 March 2022.

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