CHANCELLOR Rishi Sunak has unveiled a multi-billion pound package of support for the economy in a bid to stave off mass redundancies this winter.
As the country faces a further coronavirus clampdown, Mr Sunak revealed a replacement for the furlough scheme which ends next month to ‘adapt and evolve’ the support for business.
In its place comes the Job Support Scheme for six months from November 1 meaning employers can bring staff back off furlough in ‘viable jobs’ as long as the staff work a minimum of 33 per cent of their usual hours.
In return the Government and the employer will each pay a third of the outstanding wages. Therefore anyone in a small or medium sized business who returns to work on 33 per cent of their usual hours will get 77 per cent of their usual salary.
Larger businesses must show their turnover has fallen during the crisis. Employers can use it even if they have not previous used the furlough scheme it replaces.
The existing grant for self-employed people is being extended on similar terms to the Jobs Support Scheme.
Mr Sunak said businesses will not be able to issue redundancy notices to employees on the Job Support Scheme – and there will be restrictions on capital distributions to shareholders.
Businesses which took government loans during the initial coronavirus lockdown now have 10 years to repay the Government, up from the initial six. Coronavirus Business Interruption Loans (CBIL) will also be extended for up to 10 years.
January’s proposed rise in VAT from the lockdown level of five per cent to 20 per cent in January has been postponed until the end of March in a bid to ease pressure on the country’s ailing hospitality and tourism industry.