U.K.’s Sunak to Give More Help to Businesses in Virus-Hit Areas
(Bloomberg) -- U.K. Chancellor of the Exchequer Rishi Sunak will set out a further package of support for businesses affected by the coronavirus pandemic Thursday, according to the Financial Times, seeking to help companies whose revenues have suffered due to government restrictions.
Sunak is due to announce more funds for firms under Britain’s Tier 2 virus rules, which require hospitality venues to close by 10 p.m. and bans mixing between separate households indoors, the FT reported, citing unidentified government insiders. Currently, the financial support for companies in these areas is less generous than that for those in regions where pubs and restaurants have been told to close entirely.
The move would be the latest instance of the U.K. government seeking to cushion the economic blow of its efforts to clamp down on the virus. Britain is pursuing a strategy of gradated, localized restrictions, as opposed to imposing a national lockdown.
On Wednesday, the U.K. announced tougher coronavirus restrictions for South Yorkshire, putting it into the highest category risk level. Prime Minister Boris Johnson imposed similar measures on Greater Manchester earlier this week.
In a sign of the growing cost of the government’s virus economic interventions, the U.K. budget deficit climbed to an unprecedented 208.5 billion pounds ($274 billion) in the first six months of the fiscal year. The government has also said it is cutting the length of its upcoming spending review to just one year, rather than the planned three.
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