Covid: What financial help is available to me during the lockdown and how do I get it?

Chancellor Rishi Sunak

Businesses in the retail, hospitality and leisure sectors are to be given a one-off grant worth up to £9,000 to help them while they have to close during England's Covid-19 lockdown, Chancellor Rishi Sunak has announced.

The payments will cost the Treasury £4.6 billion and are aimed at helping support the high street as new lockdown measures announced on Monday take hold.

Mr Sunak also announced a further £594 million for local authorities and devolved administrations to support businesses not eligible for the grants.

So how can I qualify for the £9,000 grant for my business?

Around 600,000 retail, hospitality and leisure sites will be able to claim a one-off grant of up to £9,000 the government has announced.

  • £4,000 for businesses with a rateable value of £15,000 or under

  • £6,000 for businesses with a rateable value between £15,000 and £51,000

  • £9,000 for businesses with a rateable value of over £51,000

Businesses can apply for the grant through here.

Is this new grant instead of the grant for businesses forced to close?

The new one-off grants come in addition to grants worth up to £3,000 for closed businesses, and up to £2,100 per month for impacted businesses once they reopen.

Can I still be put on furlough and has it changed?

Last year it was announced that the Coronavirus Job Retention scheme was extended to April.

Under the furlough scheme, employers can claim 80% of an employee’s usual salary for hours not worked, up to a maximum of £2,500 per month.

Earlier in the year firms had to top up furloughed wages by 20%, with the government paying 60%.

The state now puts in the full 80%, with the employer only covering pension and National Insurance contributions.

Is this the same for Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland?

The grant amount announced by the chancellor may be different for Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland as business support is a devolved matter so each nation may offer different grants/support schemes for businesses than in England.

Each nation will receive more than £100 million from the UK government and it is up to them on how they distribute it to businesses.

The Scottish Government will receive £375 million, the Welsh Government £227 million and the Northern Ireland Executive £127 million.