Government plans for further financial support to Covid-hit retailers

Government ministers are in talks with the Treasury to extend financial support for Covid-19 hit businesses and the current business rates holiday for a retail and hospitality sector that has endured a year of upheaval at the hands of the pandemic.

Following warnings from the Labour party of a £50 billion ‘bombshell’ if no action is taken, the Treasury has been urged to extend the current business rates holiday to beyond March.

Currently, the property tax is set to re-start in April for the new financial year, despite the matter that non-essential retailers remain shut in accordance with the country’s lockdown restrictions.

However, Business Secretary Kwasi Kwarteng is now working with Chancellor Rishi Sunak to eek out a plan to provide further support to these businesses. Kwarteng has said that a ‘flexible’ approach to financial support is needed to help firms in the current situation.

Shadow business minister, Lucy Powell warned that businesses could be facing a ‘£50 billion bombshell’ in April, “yet many retail services won’t even be open by then.”

Meanwhile, MP Paul Scully said businesses have raised concerns over a ‘cliff-edge’ end to the business rates holiday, as well as the fixed costs they have to deal with.

In Scotland, the 100 per cent rates relief that was put in place to support some 24,000 businesses across retail, hospitality, and leisure, has been extended until the end of July.

The government has signalled that further support for occupiers of commercial property like shops, pubs and restaurants is coming.

The business rates holiday in England is currently due to end on March 31.

About Robert Hutchins

Robert Hutchins is the editor of ToyNews and its sister title, Licensing.biz. He has worked his way from Staff Writer to Editor across the two titles, having spent almost eight years with both and what now seems like a lifetime surrounded by toys. You can contact him by emailing robert.hutchins@bizmedia.co.uk or calling him on 0203 143 8780 You can even follow him on Twitter @RobGHutchins if ranting is your thing...

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