GRANTS of up to £9,000 have been announced to help York's shops, pubs and restaurants through the lockdown.

News of the one-off payments brought relief to retail, hospitality and leisure operators but many questioned whether the Treasury should have done more.

York licensee Paul Crossman, who chairs the Campaign for Pubs group, welcomed the funding but said: "It does not go far enough, especially as the Government has chosen to restrict the ability of pubs to provide takeaway services under this new lockdown, thus cutting off a vital lifeline for many local community pubs."

He said the industry needed 'a coordinated support package before huge numbers of valuable and highly viable pubs are lost for good'.

"This will involve acting to save thousands of small community businesses, rather than simply producing more policies which primarily benefit large food-led chains and pub owning companies.

“Publicans and their suppliers need to know there is real light at the end of this tunnel, and that the Government cares enough about the jobs and services they provide to take every necessary measure to ensure their survival. Property cost arrears remain the largest and most pressing single existential threat to most pubs, so the Government must now replace its useless voluntary Code of Practice with mandatory measures to protect small businesses from unfair demands by property owners or lenders."

Andrew Digwood, president of York and North Yorkshire Chamber of Commerce, said: “I would query whether this goes far enough and what the implications are for businesses in the supply chain to those hospitality, leisure and retail businesses which may well (hopefully) be in receipt of grants and support but which, if they’re closed, are not purchasing."

He feared the supply tier would be among the worst hit by the pandemic and lockdown without further targeted support.

Chambers had been lobbying since last year for longer term financial support, commensurate with the impact of restrictions, alongside a clear approach to how and when restrictions may be relaxed so business owners can plan.

The Treasury also announced £594 million for local authorities and devolved administrations to support businesses not eligible for the grants. It did not extend the business rates holiday, which ends in April or include a VAT cut and improvements to sick pay or support for working parents.

The new one-off grants come in addition to grants worth up to £3,000 for closed businesses, and up to £2,100 per month for impacted businesses once they reopen.

The Government has already provided £1.1 billion of discretionary funding for local authorities, extended the furlough scheme until April and taxpayer-backed business loans until March.

David Kerfoot, Chair of York & North Yorkshire LEP, said many small businesses would continue to take 'the economic brunt' of the restrictions and warned of casualties.

“Our Growth Hub facility,, gives signposting and advice on how to access support and we will do our best to support local authorities to reach businesses with grants coming through.

“Whilst this continued situation with the pandemic is incredibly hard, it is vital that we adhere to the new rules and work together to get through this incredibly difficult time.

He urged everyone to continue their local support when shopping.

Meanwhile East Yorkshire MP Sir Greg Knight, one of a number of MPs who last year called for extra support for the hospitality sector, praised the Chancellor for delivering more help.

Sir Greg said: ‘These one-off top-ups will be granted to businesses, which are closed, as follows: £4,000 for businesses with a rateable value of £15,000 or under; £6,000 for businesses with a rateable value of between £15,000 and £51,000 and £9,000 for businesses with a rateable value of over £51,000."

He added: "On top of this, another £594 million will be made available to local councils and devolved administrations to support those businesses which are not covered by the new grants.

"These new support packages will go some way in helping businesses get through the months ahead and hopefully will also sustain jobs. This is particularly important for the local hospitality sector which has been hit very hard."

However, he also cautioned that even more help may be necessary in the weeks ahead and the government should keep the situation “under regular review”.