Chancellor Rishi Sunak is expected to offer over 700,000 retail, hospitality and other businesses grants of up to \u00a318,000 as part of a \u00a35bn rescue package to be included in his Budget speech on Wednesday (3 March).\r\n\r\nThe new \u2018Restart Grants\u2019 will be directly distributed from local authorities from April and will replace the current grant system.\r\n\r\nSpeaking to Sky\u2019s Sophy Ridge on Sunday the chancellor said: \u201cWe know that particularly businesses in hospitality, leisure, accommodation and retail have been affected by the restrictions\u2026We want to support them as they reopen, we want to support them to keep staff, to pay bills and that\u2019s why we\u2019re launching the Restart Grants which we paid in April, worth \u00a35bn in total.\u201d\r\n\r\nUnder the scheme it is thought that non-essential retail businesses will be able to apply for grants of up to \u00a36,000, while pubs, restaurants, hotels and leisure businesses will be able to apply for grants up to the full amount of \u00a318,000.\r\n\r\nLast week it was revealed that the chancellor is also expected to announce a further extension to the government\u2019s furlough scheme until May.\r\n\r\nAccording to The Times, the move is expected after Boris Johnson promised not to \u201cpull the rug out\u201d from businesses when restrictions eventually begin to ease under his new reopening roadmap.\r\n\r\nThe paper also cites government sources that following the May extension, the scheme will begin to be gradually wound down. It is thought that Sunak is also looking to reinstate a scheme that will see a one-off payment given to businesses that bring back furloughed workers.\r\n\r\nThe latest furlough figures from the ONS showed that furloughing of staff in the wholesale and retail sector peaked on 24 April at 1.9 million furloughed. This dropped to 356,400 employments furloughed at 31 October. The number of people furloughed then increased in November to 739,400 at 30 November. Provisional figures show that by the end of December this had decreased to 689,500 people currently placed on furlough.