Chancellor Rishi Sunak has outlined a series of new lockdown grants for hospitality businesses impacted by the new lockdown – including a near £600m ‘discretionary fund’ that can be accessed by catering equipment firms.
With hospitality operators facing closure until at least February half-term, Mr Sunak announced this morning that the government would offer grants of up to £9,000 per site.
But he also revealed that £594m had been ring-fenced to support “other impacted businesses”.
This is understood to include hospitality supply chain businesses, such as installers and providers of catering equipment.
The discretionary fund will be made available for local authorities and the devolved administrations to manage.
Businesses will need to apply to their local authorities to see if they are eligible.
Sunak said: “The new strain of the virus presents us all with a huge challenge – and whilst the vaccine is being rolled out, we have needed to tighten restrictions further.
“Throughout the pandemic we’ve taken swift action to protect lives and livelihoods and today we’re announcing a further cash injection to support businesses and jobs until the Spring.
“This will help businesses to get through the months ahead – and crucially it will help sustain jobs, so workers can be ready to return when they are able to reopen.”
The news comes as the FEA continues to ramp up pressure on the government for direct financial help for foodservice equipment suppliers.
It recently wrote an open letter to the Prime Minister calling for “targeted, immediate and continued support” for members that are wholly dependent on the operator sector for their business.
This includes the cancellation of business rates until the end of September, VAT deferrals to ease cash flow and grants to cover contracted rental costs. It also wants the furlough scheme to be extended to prevent the loss of experience, knowledge and skilled jobs.
Chief executive Keith Warren said: “Announcement of such support will give security to foodservice equipment supply companies, and will ensure business viability and long term sustainability.
“In return for this investment our sector will be able to ensure that it is well-positioned to be able to respond to the needs of the operator sector when the recovery inevitably commences, hopefully in Q3/Q4 2021.”