UK announces new job support scheme to help workers hit by pandemic

Chancellor Rishi Sunak planning replacement for furlough scheme with announcement due tomorrow

Sunak to set out future of jobs furlough scheme on Thursday

Britain on Thursday launched a coronavirus winter battle plan to protect jobs and boost the fragile economy, after surging infections sparked fresh nationwide measures to slow the spread.

Today the Chancellor Rishi Sunak announced a replacement to the highly successful Job Retention Scheme (also know as the Furlough Scheme) - but the detail of the government's new Job Support Scheme means that more than a million British workers look nearly certain to lose their jobs when it goes into effect on November 1st.

The new Job Support Scheme will cover three-quarters of normal salaries for six months starting next November.

The employer and the Government will together push wages to two thirds (one third paid by employer and one third paid by Government) of the employee's pay, which has been lost by a reduction in hours.

Boris Johnson and the Chancellor have stressed the furlough scheme can't continue in its current form forever - where 80 per cent of people's wages are paid by the Government up to a cap of £2,500 a month. The employee must not be on a redundancy notice. All small and medium-sized businesses are eligible but larger businesses only when their turnover has fallen through the crisis.

Sunak has ruled out a wholesale extension of the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme, which supported 8.9 million private-sector jobs at its peak in May, but a growing second wave of COVID-19 cases has piled pressure on him to announce a replacement.

On extending the furlough initiative Mr Sunak said it is "fundamentally wrong" to hold people in jobs that only exist inside furlough.

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That being said, I would have liked to hear something further on business rents and rates, given the impact to hospitality in cities.

The new scheme is similar to Germany's Kurzarbeit ('short-time work') system and a similar wage top-up scheme in France.

In a statement to the House of Commons on his "Winter Economy Plan", the Indian-origin finance minister reiterated his past message that he may not be able to protect every job and business suffering through the coronavirus pandemic lockdown, but his new set of measures are meant to provide "absolutely maximum support possible".

"It will be open to employers across the United Kingdom even of they have not previously used the furlough scheme". Unworked hours under the scheme must not be wasted.

Caithness Chamber of Commerce says the Chancellor of the Exchequer's new package of measures to protect jobs will provide "some much-needed reassurance" to businesses, while warning that clarity will be needed to allow employers to plan ahead in the coming weeks and months.

"My message to ministers is clear, let's get around the table and fast-track a new plan".

The Jobs Support Scheme is created to support full-time staff where there is not enough demand to justify them working a five-day week.

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For businesses such as pubs and restaurants - which are required to close at 10 p.m. from Thursday night - the need for extra help from the state is urgent, with millions of workers at risk of losing their livelihoods if the crisis worsens. The UK music industry is a hotbed of world-leading talent which makes a huge contribution to our economy and global influence, so it is vital that freelancers are not forgotten and measures are put in place to help them until they can work again.

This morning Cineworld warned it may need to raise more money in the event of more coronavirus restrictions - and posted a £1.3billion loss for the six months to June.

And he acknowledged "we can't save every business" and "we can't save every job".

First, it will support viable jobs.

Meanwhile, the subsidy scheme for self-employed workers in the United Kingdom will continue until April 2021, although at a much-reduced rate, while small firms which obtained "Bounce Back" will be allowed to repay them over 10 years instead of the original six-year term.

- A "pay as you grow" measure will extend the repayment terms for bounceback loans from six to 10 years.

"VAT payments have also been deferred, and all of these measures should ensure more of our North Devon businesses survive this winter".

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