Tory MPs anticipate he will pledge extra compensation for firms whose trade has been hit by restrictions, particularly in areas stuck in the high risk category. Hospitality businesses are seeing custom plunge due to bans on indoor household mixing, while not being entitled to support available to firms forced to close in very high risk areas. Mr Sunak is also under pressure to provide more financial help for self-employed workers unable to benefit from wage subsidies
In a sign that the Treasury is clearing the way for more immediate financial support, the Chancellor yesterday scrapped his multi-year spending review for public services.
Instead, Mr Sunak will hold a one-year review at the end of next month to set spending budgets for Whitehall departments while allowing more flexibility to react to the changing situation.
He said: “In the current environment it’s essential that we provide certainty.
“So we’ll be doing that for departments and all of the nations of the United Kingdom by setting budgets for next year, with a total focus on tackling Covid and delivering our Plan For Jobs.
“Long-term investment in our country’s future is the right thing to do, especially in areas which are the cornerstone of our society, like the NHS, schools and infrastructure.
“We’ll make sure these areas crucial to our economic recovery have their budgets set for further years so they can plan and help us build back better.”
A Treasury spokesman added: “While the Government would have liked to outline plans for the rest of this Parliament, the right thing today is to focus entirely on the response to Covid-19 and supporting jobs – that’s what the public would expect.”
Ministers yesterday allocated grants to local authorities totalling nearly £1billion following the string of local lockdowns announced this week.
South Yorkshire became the latest area to face a top-level Covid Alert lockdown.
The region will be hit by Tier Three restrictions from Saturday, including a ban on households mixing.
Discussions were continuing yesterday about imposing the measures in Nottinghamshire and West Yorkshire.
But moves to slap similar lockdown orders on Tees Valley and Tyneside were “paused” after signs of progress in controlling coronavirus outbreaks.
The latest moves followed Boris Johnson’s decision to impose a Tier Three lockdown on Greater Manchester from midnight tonight,
Progress despite opposition from local leaders.
And yesterday the Prime Minister snubbed the region’s Labour mayor Andy Burnham by pledging £60million of emergency support direct to local councils rather than to the regional leader’s office.
His move sidelined Mr Burnham, who had rejected the sum as inadequate during negotiations with the Government over declaring Greater Manchester a very high risk area.
Mr Johnson made his cash offer to Greater Manchester borough councils. The PM said Mr Burnham “was offered a further £60million, which he turned down”.
He added: “I can tell the House today that that cash will be distributed to the boroughs of Greater Manchester.”
Health Minister Edward Argar has announced that the Government has agreed a deal with local leaders in Sheffield to declare the region very high risk.
Sheffield, Barnsley, Rotherham and Doncaster will all face Tier Three restrictions under the move from just after midnight on Saturday morning.
Local Government Secretary Robert Jenrick yesterday announced allocations of emergency grants for a string of councils from a £1billion support fund promised earlier this month.
About £900million of this funding will be provided to councils for their ongoing work to support communities during the pandemic.
Some 26,688 more people have tested positive for coronavirus, it was revealed yesterday. Another 191 further deaths were also confirmed, with the official death toll now 44,158.