BUSINESSES forced to shut under strict new lockdown rules announced today can apply for brand new £3,000-a-month cash grants under a £1billion scheme, Boris Johnson says.
It was announced as the PM today told MPs of tough new 'three tier' shutdowns.
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He confirmed this afternoon in the Commons that Liverpool will be the first area of England to go into the third tier of tough new measures.
It's reported that Greater Manchester and parts of West Yorkshire could follow.
Under the strict shutdowns, which could last for up to six months, pubs, bars and gyms will shut.
There will also be a ban on mixing households indoors or outdoors and travel in or out of the area limited.
But local traders faced with shuttering their businesses again will be given new financial support from November 1, Mr Johnson says.
The scheme has been backed by Chancellor Rishi Sunak, who has already announced that two-third of the wages of any business forced to close will be paid out.
Mr Sunak said the expansion of the Job Support Scheme would protect jobs and provide "reassurance and a safety net" for people and businesses across the UK in advance of a potentially "difficult winter".
What does the new jobs support package mean for businesses in lockdown?
Business forced to close under strict new coronavirus lockdowns can now apply for £3,000 a month from the Government
Under the expansion, firms whose premises are legally required to shut for some period over winter as part of local or national restrictions will receive grants to pay the wages of staff who cannot work.
In addition, the Government will support eligible businesses by paying two thirds of each employees’ salary – or 67 per cent – up to a maximum of £2,100 a month.
Under the scheme, employers will not be required to contribute towards wages and only asked to cover NICS and pension contributions, a very small proportion of overall employment costs.
Businesses will only be eligible to claim the grant while they are subject to restrictions and employees must be off work for a minimum of seven consecutive days.
The scheme will begin on November 1 and will be available for six months, with a review point in January.
Local authorities will also be handed £1billion to keep local economies afloat, on top of the £3.6billion Towns Fund.
Previously, businesses were able to claim £1,500 maximum every three weeks from the Government.
Mr Johnson said that for "very high" areas where infection rates are soaring, officials will "give further financial support for local test and trace and local enforcement".
Such areas could also be offered supported from the Army – although the PM stressed this is "not for enforcement, but rather to support local services, if desired, in the local area".
Mr Johnson said an agreement has been reached with council chiefs in Merseyside, with the area set to go into the "very high alert" level from Wednesday.
Mr Johnson said: "Engagement with other leaders in the North West, the North East and Yorkshire and Humber is continuing.
"I know how difficult this is.
"They, like us, like everyone in this House, are grappling with very real dilemmas, but we cannot let the NHS fall over when lives are at stake."
He told local authorities to "work with us on these difficult but necessary measures in the areas that are rated very high" in return for more support, adding: "I believe not to act would be unforgivable so I hope that rapid progress can be made in the coming days."
Regulations will be laid in the Commons on Monday and voted upon on Tuesday, Mr Johnson added before insisting the measures will be kept under "constant" review.
Another 13,972 Brits have tested positive for coronavirus overnight and 50 more have lost their lives.
Mr Johnson warned cases have quadrupled in just three weeks.
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