British government ministers are moving to scrap EU caps on aid to businesses forced to shut by lockdown, which have persisted despite Brexit.
The Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy (BEIS) is, according to a Times report, putting together a plan to lift a cap on grants to businesses shuttered by lockdown imposed by the European Commission during the Brexit-in-name-only “transition” period, which the Boris Johnson government has continued to apply since the transition ended at the start of 2021.
Breitbart London has previously reported how business leaders, particularly in the hospitality sector, have been pleading with the government to do away with the restrictions or at least override them under emergency provisions written into the rules, with British Retail Consortium chief executive Helen Dickinson saying it was “bizarre that EU state aid rules are standing in the way of hundreds of millions of pounds of financial support that will protect jobs” even after Britain’s exit from the bloc.
A government source has told the Times that the government is now looking at how it might do away with the current cap on assistance to individual businesses.
Hands Still Tied? UK Companies Unable to Get Covid Cash Due to EU Era State Aid Rules https://t.co/0JwGlgE0Ah
— Breitbart London (@BreitbartLondon) January 24, 2021
“Throughout the pandemic we have provided businesses with an unprecedented level of support worth £280 billion, including with various loan schemes, VAT cuts, business-rates holidays and the furlough scheme,” insisted a government spokesman.
They added, however, that “Now that we are able to set our own rules and regulations, we are looking to make sure that they deliver for British businesses and consumers” — possibly a tacit admission that there have been EU-derived limits on the assistance the Johnson administration has been able to provide until now.
The increased insistence, if it is indeed made available, could not come soon enough for some businesses, with the British economy having already suffered its biggest decline in three centuries.
Paying the Price for Lockdown: UK Economy Suffers Biggest Drop in 300+ Years https://t.co/7M5Xz4zxBo
— Breitbart London (@BreitbartLondon) February 12, 2021