Last week the Chancellor of the Exchequer, Rishi Sunak, announced the next phase of the national economic response to the COVID-19 pandemic.
The Job Support Scheme will assist companies which have been affected by the pandemic and encourages them to keep staff on at least reduced hours rather than letting them go.
It will work by the company continuing to pay its employee for the time they work, but the burden of hours which are not worked will be shared equally between the employee, the employer and the Government. Employees will need to be working at least 33 per cent of their hours, with this threshold increasing over time.
All firms, not just those which used the furlough scheme, will be eligible (large businesses eligible if their revenue has declined).
The programme will open on 1st November, and will run for six months, concluding at the end of April 2021.
In addition to support for workers, businesses will be backed through the ‘Pay As You Grow’ scheme, by giving those which took Government loans greater flexibility to repay these over a longer period of time, and in a way to suit their own circumstances.
Businesses are also being given greater access to support which will mean that the four loan schemes will now expire at the end of November. HM Treasury will work with businesses and lenders to introduce a new loan guarantee scheme from January of next year.
Grant extensions will be provided for self-employed small businesses who used the Self-Employment Income Support Scheme.
The extension will provide two grants and will last for six months, from November 2020 to April 2021. Grants will be paid in two lump sum instalments each covering a three-month period, with the first grant covering the period from the start of November until the end of January.
HM Treasury have stated that the Government are providing broadly the same level of support for the self-employed as is being provided for employees through the Job Support Scheme.
I am acutely aware of the salience of ensuring that support reaches where it needs to be. I continue to make representations on behalf of the workers and businesses of the Crawley and Gatwick aviation sector and the wide range of companies right across our town.
Government ministers are right in their approach that ideology and dogma have been put aside in addressing the pandemic.
These are unprecedented times and we are seeing answers which would have seemed unthinkable less than a year ago. The importance of holding Government to account has not changed and this is what I will continue to do in Parliament.
Henry Smith MP