Small business face local lockdown hitJames Hurley in the Times warns of the impact local coronavirus lockdowns could have on small firms, noting that British Chambers of Commerce director-general Adam Marshall says that as local restrictions are likely to become more frequent, "a comprehensive package of support will be needed for affected firms". Ministers have announced that smaller firms with a rates valuation, annual rent or mortgage bill below £51,000 that are forced to shut amid a lockdown would be eligible for £1,000 every three weeks. The Federation of Small Businesses welcomed the assistance, but chairman Mike Cherry has called for “greater help”. He notes that resources are available, with £1.3bn linked to small business grants going unspent by local authorities. “There's nothing to stop the Treasury repurposing that money to create a new discretionary fund for use by local authorities, aimed at those who have received no help to date and those affected by local lockdowns,” Mr Cherry suggested. He has also called for a successor to the job retention scheme, cuts to VAT and cost reductions “that can help those in hard-hit areas."