Responding to an announcement by The Treasury of £5bn of new Restart Grants for struggling businesses, Dr Adam Marshall, Director General of the BCC, said:

“Chambers of Commerce have campaigned for additional grants to support the cash flow of our hardest-hit businesses, particularly those who have faced severe restrictions or closure in recent months. We welcome the announcement of these additional cash grants, which will be a lifeline for many firms as they look to restart and rebuild over the challenging months ahead. The Government, devolved administrations and local authorities must now make sure that cash gets to the front line fast.

“While the announcement of additional grants is positive, a support plan that covers the rest of 2021 would really help to build business confidence. That means removing the immediate cliff edges on support by continuing the furlough scheme and VAT deferrals for as long as they are needed. Business rates relief for the hospitality, retail and leisure sectors should also continue until next year.

“Critically, the government needs to send the right signals to firms and investors by avoiding hasty rises in business taxation. The best way to raise money for the Exchequer will be to give companies the breathing space they need, as the economy reopens, to generate revenue and return to profit.”