The new strain of the virus presents us with a new challenge just as the vaccine is being rolled out. Which is why we have taken swift and decisive action to get businesses through to the Spring and protect jobs as part of our £280 billion plan for jobs. We’re providing one-off cash grants of up to £9,000 per business premises and giving local councils an additional half a billion pounds to support businesses in their area. This is £4.6 billion pounds worth of grants.
These grants will help to sustain over 600,000 of the hardest hit businesses across the UK, those in retail, hospitality and leisure, forced to close. Susan, my absolute priority throughout this crisis has been to protect jobs, which is why these new grants will be in addition to our comprehensive package of business support, including: The extension of furlough until April Grants of up to £3,000 a month, that businesses can already claim £1.1 billion further discretionary grant funding for Local Authorities 100% business rates relief for retail, hospitality and leisure businesses The extension of 100% government backed loans until March The next few weeks are going to be difficult, but we are redoubling our efforts to protect jobs and help businesses get through to Spring. And with more and more people being vaccinated every day the end is in sight. Which is why work is already underway for the Budget in March to set out the next stage in our economic response.