Latest updates: Chancellor to announce fourth package of support for business amid mounting pressure to help hard-hit companies in lockdown-affected regions
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Good morning. Rishi Sunak, the chancellor, will be in the Commons later to deliver his fourth Covid support package in as many months. It is expected that a key feature of his announcement will be increased support for businesses that are affected by the tier 2 restrictions – such as pubs and restaurants getting less trade because people cannot meet up inside to eat or drink with friends.
Ministers have been under pressure to address this problem for week, because businesses have been suffering in the Midlands and the north of England in places where tier 2-style restrictions were imposed over the summer. (The three-tier system was only introduced last week.) Labour even staged a vote addressing this issue in the Commons yesterday. The government voted it down with a majority of 79. But you could read Sunak’s statement as evidence that, as the Corbynites would put it, Labour won the argument.
The government have given incredible support to businesses, but clearly this particular point was just one that was completely missed in planning the tier 2 restrictions so I am really optimistic that they will respond.
The government didn’t expect us to be in a position through the autumn where we were having a rising level of the virus to this extent, so if you look at the design of the winter economy package at the time that seemed rational but clearly events have moved very quickly.