Kent experts gives cool response to Rishi Sunak's £4.6m package of support for retail, hospitality and leisure sector

Business figures have given a cool response to a new £4.6billion package of measures announced this morning by Chancellor Rishi Sunak.

He revealed the government will respond to the latest national lockdown, announced last night, by offering retail, hospitality and leisure sites the chance to claim a one-off grant of up to £9,000.

But many believe it is not enough.

Chief executive of the Kent Invicta Chamber of Commerce, Jo James, who earlier had called for more support, said: "While this immediate cash flow support for business is welcome, it is not going to be enough to save many firms.

"We need to see a clear support package for the whole of 2021, not just another incremental intervention.

“The government must move away from this drip-feed approach and set out a long-term plan that allows all businesses of all shapes and sizes to plan, and ultimately survive.

“Many smaller firms won’t qualify for the full headline amounts set out in the Chancellor’s statement, and will be left struggling to see how this new top-up grant will help them out of their cashflow problems.

Chancellor Rishi Sunak has committed more spending to help firms due to the lockdown. Picture: Pippa Fowles/No 10 Downing Street
Chancellor Rishi Sunak has committed more spending to help firms due to the lockdown. Picture: Pippa Fowles/No 10 Downing Street

“Support must be sufficient to cover not justthose on the front line of retail, hospitality and leisure, but also firms in supply chains and wider business communities who are also feeling the devastating impacts of these restrictions.”

Nick Paterno, managing partner at Sidcup-based McBrides Chartered Accountants, added: "It's a sad truth that for some, these measures are simply not enough if businesses are going to survive – and there is now an urgent need to help the three million people who so far have not received any help from the government in the last nine months.

“So many in retail, leisure and hospitality have been through what this time last year would have been an 'unimaginable' hardship. The current support is not of sufficient scale and what many businesses need is a revenue replacement scheme if they are to survive.

"Businesses are also going to need continued support once the lockdown is lifted, if they are to bounce back in the second quarter,so we urge the Chancellor to maintain support measures such as the reduced rate of VAT for hospitality and not to make any pre-emptive tax increases in the March Budget. "

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