Chancellor Rishi Sunak has outlined additional government support for businesses and workers impacted by COVID-19.
The Chancellor announced a package of measures designed to protect jobs and help businesses through the months ahead. The package includes a new Jobs Support Scheme, extending the Self Employment Income Support Scheme, and help for businesses in repaying government-backed loans.
Rishi Sunak said: “The resurgence of the virus, and the measures we need to take in response, pose a threat to our fragile economic recovery… Our approach to the next phase of support must be different to that which came before.
“The primary goal of our economic policy remains unchanged – to support people’s jobs – but the way we achieve that must evolve.”
A new Job Support Scheme will be introduced from 1 November to protect viable jobs in businesses which are facing lower demand over the winter months due to coronavirus.
Under the scheme, which will run for six months and help keep employees attached to the workforce, the government will contribute towards the wages of employees who are working fewer than normal hours due to decreased demand.
Employers will continue to pay the wages of staff for the hours they work – but for the hours not worked, the government and the employer will each pay one third of their equivalent salary.
This means employees who can only go back to work on shorter time will still be paid two thirds of the hours for those hours they can’t work.
In order to support only viable jobs, employees must be working at least 33% of their usual hours. The level of grant will be calculated based on employee’s usual salary, capped at £697.92 per month.
The Job Support Scheme will be open to businesses across the UK even if they have not previously used the furlough scheme, with further guidance being published in due course.
It is designed to sit alongside the Jobs Retention Bonus and could be worth over 60% of average wages of workers who have been furloughed – and are kept on until the start of February 2021. Businesses can benefit from both schemes in order to help protect jobs.
In addition, looking more at the merchant sector’s customer base, the Government is extending the Self Employment Income Support Scheme Grant (SEISS). An initial taxable grant will be provided to those who are currently eligible for SEISS and are continuing to actively trade but face reduced demand due to coronavirus. The initial lump sum will cover three months’ worth of profits for the period from November to the end of January next year. This is worth 20% of average monthly profits, up to a total of £1,875.
An additional second grant, which may be adjusted to respond to changing circumstances, will be available for self-employed individuals to cover the period from February 2021 to the end of April.
Read the full details at www.gov.uk/government/news/chancellor-outlines-winter-economy-plan