UK unveils new support package for wages and businesses
After a chorus of criticism that coronavirus financial support was being withdrawn or reduced too soon, Rishi Sunak, the UK's Chancellor of the Exchequer has unveiled additional support for jobs and businesses hit by the second wave of coronavirus and its accompanying restrictions.
The measures come as businesses in Tier 2 areas – where life is more restricted than usual but not actually in lockdown – have struggled. Some had even said they’d be better off being in Tier 3 and forced to temporarily close by the government as this would bring them financial support not available, until now.
There will now be monthly cash grants, extra help for the self-employed and a change to the Job Support Scheme (JSS) that will replace the previous furlough scheme from next month.
All this reflects the fact that even those businesses not forced to shut are facing "profound economic uncertainty”, the government said.
As far as the JSS is concerned, staff had been having to work 33% of their usual hours to qualify and employers would have to contribute another 33% for hours not worked. Now, employers will pay for a minimum of 20% of the usual hours that are actually worked with the extra 33% for hours not worked reduced to 5%. Some 62% of wages for hours not worked will come from the government.
Smaller businesses will continue to be able to access the scheme as well as larger businesses that can show their revenues have been affected.
And while it's clearly targeted at businesses in the second tier in England, it's available across the UK.
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