Update: Government to pay two thirds of wages to shut businesses
Chancellor Rishi Sunak says the Government’s Jobs Support Scheme will be extended to support businesses forced to close by any new coronavirus restrictions or lockdowns.
Mr Sunak this afternoon, Friday October 9, said that any firms whose premises are “legally required to shut” due to local or national restrictions will get grants worth up to two thirds of each employees’ salary (or 67%), up to a maximum of £2,100 a month.
The Government says that under the expanded JSS scheme, employers will not be required to contribute towards wages but will have to cover National Insurance and pension contributions.
The Government says: “It is estimated that around half of potential claims are likely not to incur employer NICs or auto-enrolment pension contributions and so face no employer contribution”.
Businesses will only be able to claim the support while subject to restrictions. Employees must be off work for a minimum of seven consecutive days.
The support will start on November 1 and run for six months, with a review in January.
Payments will be made in arrears through an HMRC claims service that will be available from early December.
The scheme is UK-wide and the Government has pledged to work with local elected mayors and political leaders over proposed local lockdowns, following criticism in some areas over a lack of consultation.
The Government has also increased the cash grants for businesses required to close in local lockdowns.
Up to £3,000 per month will be available, compared to £1,500 previously.
Mr Sunak said: “Throughout the crisis, the driving force of our economic policy has not changed.
“I’ve always said that we will adapt and evolve our response as the situation on the health side adapts and evolves. That’s what’s happening. I think that’s the pragmatic and right thing to do.”
“The expansion of the Job Support Scheme will provide a safety net for businesses across the UK who are required to temporarily close their doors, giving them the right support at the right time.”