Restart Grant aims to help unlock the economy

The government’s new £5bn Restart Grant scheme aims to help businesses forced to shut as a result of the coronavirus lockdown re-open their doors to customers.

The grant scheme, announced in the Budget, will begin in April and will be worth up to £18,000 to individual businesses.

The grant will look to help shops, pubs, hotels and any other small business through to June 21 – the date currently in place that will see all lockdown restrictions lifted in England.

The government says that 700,000 small business owners including those running shops, pubs, clubs, hotels restaurants, gyms and hair salons are set to benefit from the scheme.

Non-essential retail businesses will get up to £6,000 per premises through the scheme to help them reopen. In England, shops will reopen no earlier than April 12.

Those in hospitality, accommodation, leisure, personal care and gyms, scheduled to open up at a later date, will be eligible for up to £18,000, depending on their rateable value.

The new Restart Grant will replace the monthly Local Restrictions Support Grants for open and closed businesses. These grants will both close at the end of March.

To reply for the Restart support, businesses must visit their local council’s website. To find your local authority visit here: https://www.gov.uk/find-local-council.

Further details of the scheme, including eligibility, are awaited and expected to be released soon.

The chancellor said the aim of the new Restart Grant was “to help businesses reopen and get going again.”

In another Budget move to help the economy get back on its feet, the business rates holiday for eligible retail, hospitality and leisure companies will be extended through to the end of June.

That means 750,000 qualifying retail, hospitality and leisure properties in England will pay no business rates for three months from April 1 when combined with Small Business Rates Relief, with further relief available for the rest of the year.

Mr Sunak said: “For the remaining nine months of the year, business rates will still be discounted by two thirds, up to a value of £2m for closed businesses, with a lower cap for those who have been able to stay open.”

Looking to further protect the hospitality and tourism sectors he confirmed that the 5 per cent reduced rate of VAT will be extended until the end of September, followed by an interim rate of 12.5 per cent for another six months.