Bosses welcome help for businesses and workers in Tier 2

Chancellor of the Exchequer Rishi Sunak hosting a roundtable for business representatives at Franco Manca in Waterloo...

Chancellor of the Exchequer Rishi Sunak hosting a roundtable for business representatives at Franco Manca in Waterloo, London Picture: STEFAN ROUSSEAU/PA WIRE - Credit: PA

Bosses have welcomed the Chancellor’s new measures to support hospitality businesses in Essex and other Tier 2 areas – calling them “a very significant improvement”.

Dr Adam Marshall Picture: DAVID GARRAD

Dr Adam Marshall Picture: DAVID GARRAD - Credit: David Garrad

Under the changes unveiled by Rishi Sunak on Thursday, employers will pay less and staff can work fewer hours before qualifying for the scheme.

There will also be grants of £2,100 available for firms in Tier 2 areas of England, primarily aimed at helping hospitality and leisure venues which have seen takings plummet due to a restrictions on households mixing.

Extra help for the self-employed will see the amount covered by grants increase from 20% of profits to 40%, meaning the maximum payout will increase from £1,875 to £3,750.

Nick Mackenzie, chief executive of Greene King which operates pubs throughout Essex, said: “We welcome the announcement made by the Chancellor although we look forward to further detail on how local authorities will be distributing the new grants.

Nick Mackenzie, chief executive of Greene King Pictture: ADAM SMYTH

Nick Mackenzie, chief executive of Greene King Pictture: ADAM SMYTH - Credit: Archant

“It’s great that he has listened to businesses and acted as the restrictions imposed on the hospitality sector in Tier 2 areas, combined with the 10pm curfew, are having a crippling impact on trade. This is not sustainable, particularly for our pubs in city centres which are becoming increasingly unviable and this additional support will help to keep people in jobs and businesses open until we can get pubs fully operational again.”

Adam Marshall, director general of British Chambers of Commerce, said: “This is a very significant improvement in the support available to businesses struggling with the impact of increasing restrictions across the UK.

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“Chambers have been campaigning for greater support for businesses experiencing big falls in demand as a result of new restrictions, and a number of the steps announced today, including the lowering of employer contributions and the number of hours worked needed to qualify for the scheme, respond directly to our calls.

“Backdated grants for hospitality firms in Tier 2 and enhanced grants for the self-employed will go some way to alleviating pressure on many of those who have been particularly vulnerable to the economic impact of the pandemic.

“The true test of these reforms will be whether they help businesses on the ground get through the difficult months ahead.”