Rishi Sunak to make an announcement on Covid on Monday

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Chancellor of the Exchequer Rishi Sunak will provide an economic update in a statement to the House of Commons on Monday afternoon, according to.
Mr Sunak is expected to set out some details of the financial measures that will be put in place to help people through the current lockdowns in the UK.

The lockdown in England is expected to last at least until mid-February and could last until March 31 – with reports it could be extended until spring with pubs closed until May.

Last week Mr Sunak said around 600,000 retail, hospitality and leisure sites would be able to claim a one-time grant of up to £ 9,000, the government said.

The payments will cost the Treasury £ 4.6bn and are aimed at helping support Main Street as new foreclosure measures announced on Monday take effect.

Mr Sunak also announced the allocation of an additional £ 594 million to local authorities and decentralized administrations to support businesses ineligible for grants.

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

Mr Sunak said: “The new strain of the virus presents us all with a huge challenge – and while the vaccine is being rolled out, we have had to tighten the restrictions further.

“Throughout the pandemic, we have taken swift action to protect lives and livelihoods and today we are announcing a new injection of funds to support businesses and jobs until spring.

“It will help businesses get through the coming months – and most importantly, it will help maintain jobs, so workers can be ready to return when they can reopen.”

Payments will be based on the size of each store, pub, cafe or hotel related to the business rates typically paid by each business. Smaller sites will be able to claim up to £ 4,000 and medium-sized sites £ 6,000.

However, the Chancellor stopped short of extending the business rate holiday, which ends in April, despite calls from leaders in retail and hospitality for such a move.

Other notable absences demanded by business groups and unions include a reduction in VAT and improvements in sickness benefits or support for working parents.

According to real estate specialists at Altus Group, 401,690 non-essential stores, 64,537 pubs / restaurants, 20,703 personal care facilities and 7,051 gyms and recreation centers are now closed.

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

The government has already provided £ 1.1bn in discretionary funding to local authorities, extended the holiday program until April and taxpayer-guaranteed business loans until March.

Mr Sunak said new measures could be announced in the budget in March.

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