24 September 2020 | UK NEWS
The Chancellor of the Exchequer has unveiled his plan to help businesses recover from the economic effects of the coronavirus pandemic and cope with the end of the current furlough scheme. This announcement comes in the midst of new restrictions being levied on the public by the Government in order to combat coronavirus.
Rishi Sunak announced his Winter Economic Plan today in Parliament. Before the official reveal, Sunak posed for pictures on Downing Street with TUC General Secretary Frances O’Grady and CBI Director-General Carolyn Fairbairn, in order to show both parties’ endorsement of the measures.
Among the key features in the new Winter Economic Plan was the new Jobs Support Scheme. This scheme is being seen as the replacement of the furlough scheme, which is due to end next month. Under this plan, the Government and the employer combined would pay around three quarters of the full-time salary for anyone who was working only a third of their hours, for example.
The employee would still have to be working for at least that proportion of their original hours to be eligible for the scheme, which will cover the next six months.
Small and medium-sized business are immediately eligible for the Jobs Support Scheme, whereas larger business will have to show a significant decline during the period of the crisis in order to be eligible. The scheme can include businesses that did not participate in the original furlough scheme.
In other sections of the Winter Economic Plan, it was announced that the reductions in VAT for the hospitality industry, as implemented during the last economic plan, would remain in place until March next year.
There was also a provision called the “pay as you grow” scheme, which will allow business that have received bounce-back loans to extend them from six to ten years.
Boris Johnson reacted to the Chancellor’s plans by saying that the Government was “continuing to do everything we can to support the workforce, jobs and livelihoods throughout the crisis”. He also urged the public to “follow the guidance that we set out”, threatening that there will be “serious fines for people who don’t comply”.
The Shadow Chancellor, Anneliese Dodds, responded to the Chancellor’s measures in the Commons by saying: “I have called for the introduction of a system of targeted wage supports forty times; that call has been rebuffed by this Government twenty times. It’s a relief this Government have U-turned now.”
She went on to say that the delay in these reforms will have impacted business confidence.