Sunak’s £5bn plan to rescue high streets from collapse

Grants will be offered to stricken shops and pubs but NHS fears its pleas for cash will be ignored

The chancellor, Rishi Sunak, is to offer 700,000 shops, pubs, restaurants, hotels and other businesses, grants of up to £18,000 each as part of a £5bn rescue scheme to prevent mass bankruptcies.

News of the plan – to be announced in Wednesday’s budget – comes as Sunak faces increasing pressure to avoid or postpone significant corporation tax rises, as companies struggle to weather the latest Covid-19 lockdown in a strong enough state to reopen.

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