26 Oct 2020

Covid-19: Extra measures announced to support businesses and jobs

In October, the government announced additional measures within its winter support scheme [links to Winter Economic Plan article] to help to protect jobs and businesses through a coronavirus second spike.

  • Extra help for struggling businesses to keep staff on as government significantly increases contribution to wage costs under the Job Support Scheme, and business contributions drop to 5 per cent
  • Business grants are expanded to cover businesses in particularly affected sectors in high-alert level areas, helping them stay afloat and protecting jobs
  • Grants for the self-employed doubled to 40 per cent of previous earnings

Job Support Scheme (JSS)

When originally announced, the JSS – which will come into effect on 1 November – saw employers paying a third of their employees’ wages for hours not worked, and required employers to be working 33 per cent of their normal hours.

Today’s announcement reduces the employer contribution to those unworked hours to just 5 per cent, and reduces the minimum hours requirements to 20 per cent, so those working just one day a week will be eligible. That means that if someone was being paid £587 for their unworked hours, the government would be contributing £543 and their employer only £44.

Employers will continue to receive the £1,000 Job Retention Bonus. The Job Support Scheme Closed for businesses legally required to close remains unchanged.

Business Grants

The Chancellor has also announced approved additional funding to support cash grants of up to £2,100 per month primarily for businesses in the hospitality, accommodation and leisure sector who may be adversely impacted by the restrictions in high-alert level areas.

These grants will be available retrospectively for areas who have already been subject to restrictions, and come on top of higher levels of additional business support for Local Authorities moving into Tier 3 which, if scaled up across the country, would be worth more than £1 billion.

The grants could benefit around 150,000 businesses in England, including hotels, restaurants, B&Bs and many more who aren’t legally required to close but have been adversely affected by local restrictions nonetheless.

Self-employed grant

The announcement increases the amount of profits covered by the two forthcoming self-employed grants from 20 per cent to 40 per cent, meaning the maximum grant will increase from £1,875 to £3,750.

This is a potential further £3.1 billion of support to the self-employed through November to January alone, with a further grant to follow covering February to April.

If you have any queries relating to the Government support measures and how we can assist you and your business, please contact Mariske Byrnes or your usual BM Connect adviser.    

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