The Chancellor, Rishi Sunak, has announced a six-month furlough extension for employees who remain out of work due to local lockdown restrictions.
The new scheme is designed to support businesses who have been forced to close – and those that remain closed – due to coronavirus. This includes businesses in the arts and hospitality sectors.
Under the scheme, set to start on November 1, firms that are legally required to close due to local or national restrictions will receive grants to pay staff up to two thirds of their salary over the next six months, up to a value of £2,100 per worker.
Employers will not be required to contribute towards wages under the plan, but will be asked to cover national insurance and pension contributions.
Mr Sunak, said: “Throughout the crisis the driving force of our economic policy has not changed.
“I have always said that we will do whatever is necessary to protect jobs and livelihoods as the situation evolves.
“The expansion of the Job Support Scheme will provide a safety net for businesses across the UK who are required to temporarily close their doors, giving them the right support at the right time.”
However, the scheme won’t support those whose hours – and profits – have fallen due to UK-wide curfew restrictions, with these businesses advised to claim part-time furlough instead.
But according to travel trade association UKinbound, the expansion of the Job Support Scheme offers little help for the struggling travel industry.
Joss Croft, CEO, UKinbound said “Once again the Chancellor has ignored the fact that inbound tourism businesses, that deliver £28 billion in export earnings for the UK every year, are on their knees, unable to fund viable jobs as they’ve been excluded from virtually all Government support channels since March.
“Government has already stopped businesses trading due to measures such as quarantine and previous lockdowns, and it therefore needs to compensate all affected companies, not just those facing these new measures or with an obvious shop front.”