New support

Sunak unveils £1 billion fund for Covid-hit firms

Rishi Sunak

Rishi Sunak: ‘generous’

The chancellor has set out £1 billion of measures to help bars, restaurants, and theatres cope with the latest Covid crisis, with Nicola Sturgeon due to announce what action she will take.

Rishi Sunak said grants of up to £6,000 per premises will be provided and the taxpayer will also cover the cost of statutory sick pay for Covid-related absences for companies with fewer than 250 employees.  An extra £30m will be provided to help theatres and museums.

The devolved administrations will receive £154 million of funding through the Barnett formula as part of the support announced, with about £80m for the Scottish Government, £50m for the Welsh Government and £25m for the Northern Ireland Executive.

Some will consider the package to be less than sufficient in light of soaring costs and losses caused by a wave of cancellations.

The Chancellor said the new support was “generous” and recognised the situation many hospitality and leisure businesses faced in the run-up to Christmas.

“I will always respond proportionately and appropriately to the situation that we face. People can have confidence in that,” he said.

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