UK to provide additional support for businesses

The British government will provide additional support for businesses that are likely to remain closed for a prolonged period due to the spread of a variant of the coronavirus.

The government decided on Tuesday that restaurants and bars, as well as non-essential shops that have closed are now entitled to one-off grants of up to 9,000 pounds, or about 12,000 dollars, per property.

The measure was announced on the same day as tougher lockdown restrictions were introduced in England, including London, and Scotland. The lockdown is expected to continue until next month.

The government has been paying monthly grants of up to 4,000 dollars to affected businesses and covering 80 percent of wages of furloughed employees.

Finance minister Rishi Sunak said, "This will help businesses to get through the months ahead, and crucially it will help sustain jobs."

But business groups are arguing that the measure is insufficient to mitigate the economic impact and calling for the government to expand support to companies doing business with the affected.