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RISHI SUNAK TO ANNOUNCE £5BN BUSINESS GRANTS FOR FIRMS HIT HARDEST BY COVID

Pubs, restaurants, shops and other businesses hit hardest by the coronavirus pandemic will be boosted by a £5 billion grant scheme to help them reopen as the lockdown is eased.

Chancellor Rishi Sunak will announce the “restart grants” worth up to £6,000 per premises to help non-essential retailers reopen and trade safely at his Budget on Wednesday.

Hospitality, hotels, gyms, as well as personal care and leisure firms, will be eligible for up to £18,000 per premises as they are due to open later under the plans for easing lockdown.

The Treasury estimates 230,000 firms will be eligible for the higher band, which will be awarded based on their rateable value, and 450,000 shops will also be able to apply.

The £5 billion is targeted at England, but the devolved nations in Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland will receive an extra £794 million in funding through the Barnett formula.

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