THE Chancellor Rishi Sunak is expected to announce a new support package for businesses affected by Tier 2 restrictions today.

LIVE: The latest from Rishi Sunak's announcement

Rishi Sunak will unveil a new plan to help firms, particularly pubs and restaurants, who have seen their trade drop as a result of the social restrictions in the “high” Covid-19 category.

Currently businesses in Tier 2 areas including, for now, Bradford and as of last week London, do not benefit from the same Government aid as those in Tier 3, including business grants and higher wage subsidies, because they can remain open.

Mr Sunak will make a statement to the Commons on Thursday morning, and is expected to unveil financial measures to help Tier 2 firms following complaints from industry leaders and MPs that thousands of jobs were at risk ahead of Christmas.

The Chancellor’s spokesperson told the PA news agency: “The Chancellor is due to update the House of Commons on the economic situation, in particular, and so far as it relates to the new restrictions.

“And, what we have always said is that our package of support is always flexible and always up for review to make sure that it is dealing with the situation as it evolves.”

In Tier 3, social mixing is banned both indoors and in private gardens, while pubs and bars must close unless they can operate as a restaurant.

For businesses in this band that are unable to legally operate due to Covid-19 restrictions, the government will pay employees 66% of their wage, with the employer still contributing to pensions and National Insurance.

Meanwhile, companies in Tier 2 can only claim on a scheme where employers have to pay around 55% of staff wages with a smaller subsidy from Government, while still being subject to bans on household mixing indoors.

Bradford and the rest of West Yorkshire is currently in Tier 2 and has been for months, but talks have been going on since last week about moving the area into Tier 3. The reported fresh support comes just days after London was put under Tier 2 restrictions.

Greater Manchester, like Bradford, has been under Tier 2 restrictions for months and was earlier this week put into Tier 3 Very High alert level despite the Government failing to reach a deal with local leaders.

Mayor Andy Burnham said he would be “looking closely” at the announcement, after he was embroiled in debates with ministers for days over what support businesses in his region should get for their move into the Tier 3.

He said: “Greater Manchester has been in ‘high’ alert for three months but our hospitality businesses haven’t had any emergency support.

“We asked for this to be taken into account in Tier 3 negotiations. The Government refused.”

The Chancellor of the Exchequer Rishi Sunak is due to deliver his statement in the House of Commons at 11.30am.