By Karim El-Bar
LONDON (AA) - British Chancellor Rishi Sunak announced on Thursday he would “go further” in giving areas under local coronavirus restrictions more economic support.
For those in Tier 2 restrictions, firms would be given cash grants of up to £2,100 ($2,751) to help hospitality, accommodation, and leisure venues. The grants would be backdated for regions that have been in restrictions since August.
Grants for the self-employed will double to £3,750 ($4,913), and the amount of average profits they can claim doubling to 40%.
The Job Support Scheme will be changed so that employees only have to work 20% of their usual hours, rather than 33% to be eligible. Employers only have to contribute 5%, rather than 33%.
“It is clear that even businesses that can stay open are facing profound uncertainty,” Sunak said.
“This is our plan. A plan for jobs, for businesses, for the regions, for the economy, for the country. A plan to support the British people.”
The government also announced that Stoke-on-Trent, Coventry, and Slough will move into Tier 2 from Saturday, and discussions are underway for Warrington to be placed in Tier 3, the highest of the three tiers of coronavirus restrictions.
Meanwhile, the Maldives, Canary Islands, Mykonos, and Denmark have been added to the UK travel corridor, meaning those returning to the UK from these destinations will not have to quarantine for two weeks as of Sunday.
Government data showed that 21,242 people tested positive for coronavirus across the UK over the past 24 hours, bringing the total to 810,467. A further 189 people died, bringing the death toll to 44,347.