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Chancellor Rishi Sunak revealed that a year-long business rates holiday has now been put in place for all retail, leisure and hospitality businesses as part of the government’s strategy to support companies in weathering the impact of the coronavirus outbreak. A package of loans and guarantees worth £330bn that will be made available to help businesses was also announced.
The Chancellor said, “We will do whatever it takes to protect our people and businesses from the effects of this global economic emergency brought on by the Coronavirus pandemic. The interventions I am setting out today will help support businesses of all sizes – so they can continue operating during these unprecedented times.”
Also announced was grants to small businesses eligible for Small Business Rate Relief which have been extended from £3,000 to £10,000 and further grants worth £25,000 will be available to SMEs with a rateable value over £15,000 and below £51,000.
In light of recent advice for people to practice social distancing and avoid pubs and restaurants, the government has also said it will relax planning regulations to allow those businesses to provide takeaways without a planning application.
Commenting on the updates, Vincent Nolan, co-owner of the Isle of Wight Distillery, said, “The support offered looks set to be of some comfort to the hospitality industry, but we would have liked to have seen a firm commitment to a suspension of all taxes payable to HMRC for an initial six month period. This would help ease the impact on SME craft distilleries like IoWD of the PM’s recent advice for people to ‘avoid’ pubs, clubs and restaurants. This advice will reduce demand for our products by 50% in the near term, something we could never have planned for.”
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