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New COVID business support measures

With a new national lockdown from 5 January, the Treasury announced another round of one-off cash grants for retail, hospitality and leisure businesses to help them through to the spring. There is also further discretionary funding to support other impacted businesses.

The new grants are only for businesses situated in England, with the devolved administrations of Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland providing their own support.

Grants will be paid on a per-property basis, with the amount dependent on the property’s rateable value:

Rateable value

Amount of grant

£15,000 or under


Between £15,000 and £51,000


Over £51,000


To qualify, a business needs to be legally required to close and not able to operate effectively remotely. The new grants are in addition to any previous business support, such as the recent local restrictions support grant. Grants may well be paid automatically but keep an eye on your local authority’s website in case you need to register or apply.

Discretionary grants

Businesses not eligible for a cash grant can apply to their local authority for financial help if they are affected by the restrictions. Help is aimed at smaller businesses which do not pay business rates but have relatively high ongoing fixed property-related costs. This might include:

  • those in shared offices or other flexible work spaces;
  • market traders;
  • bed and breakfast businesses paying council tax instead of business rates.

Other recent announcements

Just before parliament broke for Christmas, the Chancellor extended the employee furlough scheme by another month to the end of April, with the government-backed bounce back loan scheme now available up to 31 March – it was due to end on 31 January. The business interruption loan schemes have been similarly extended.

The job retention bonus that was due to be paid to employers in February 2021 of £1,000 for each eligible employee returning from furlough has been postponed due to the recent further extension of the furlough scheme.

You can find out what Covid-19 financial support is available for your business by working through the government’s business support finder.