Published: Thursday, 10th Sep 2020

Bolton Council Leader, Cllr David Greenhalgh, has welcomed the latest government announcement of financial grants for businesses that have closed under the new restrictions.

However, he is urging the government to ensure Bolton’s hospitality sector will benefit to the same amount as under the previous furlough arrangements of 80 per cent.

The treasury announced yesterday (Sept 9) that businesses which have had to close will be able to claim £1,500 grant every three weeks and smaller firms can claim £1,000.

Strict new measures were introduced borough-wide on Tuesday (Sept 8) as the number of COVID-19 cases continue to rise.

Hospitality venues – restaurants, cafes, bars and pubs – are now restricted to takeaway only. Those offering takeaway services must close from 10pm to 5am.

We want to do everything we can to protect local jobs and help Bolton businesses.

Cllr Greenhalgh said: “We want to do everything we can to protect local jobs and help Bolton businesses.

“We recognise the enormous hardship faced by everyone working in the hospitality sector and I am pleased that the government has announced some support.

“However, we want to ensure that businesses will be no worse off in this scheme than under the original furlough arrangements.

“We will be looking into the finer detail of this scheme and continuing to press the government to do the right thing for our businesses.

“Many of our favourite pubs, cafés and restaurants were only just beginning to welcome customers back when these new measures were introduced.

“Many took on board the restrictions and showed great innovation in welcoming back their customers into a safe and socially distanced environment.

“We want to ensure they get as much help and support as possible.”

Under the existing furlough scheme up to 70 per cent of wages will be paid by the government, reducing to 60 per cent in October.

Businesses can claim from the scheme if they have previously furloughed the employee for three consecutive weeks between March 1 and 30 June, and submitted their claim before 31 July.

They can only put new claims in for staff who are a military reservist or those returning from statutory parental leave.

The council will communicate information about the new grants once further information is available.

The restrictions will be under constant review with the government on an on-going basis.