The Government’s Job Support Scheme (JSS) will be expanded in an attempt to protect jobs and support businesses required to close their doors as a result of coronavirus restrictions, the Chancellor announced today.
Under the expansion, firms whose premises are legally required to shut for some period over winter as part of local or national restrictions will receive grants to pay the wages of staff who cannot work - protecting jobs and enabling businesses to reopen quickly once restrictions are lifted.
The Government will support eligible businesses by paying two thirds of each employees’ salary (or 67%), up to a maximum of £2,100 a month.
Chancellor of the Exchequer, Rishi 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.”
The scheme will begin on 1 November and will be available for six months, with a review point in January. In line with the rest of the JSS, payments to businesses will be made in arrears, via a HMRC claims service that will be available from early December.
Employees of firms that have been legally closed in the period before 1 November are eligible for the CJRS.
The scheme is UK wide and the UK Government will work with the devolved administrations to ensure the scheme operates effectively across all four nations.
This comes alongside intensive engagement with local leaders today on potential measures coming in their areas.
In addition to expansion of the JSS, the Government is increasing the cash grants to businesses in England shut in local lockdowns to support with fixed costs. These grants will be linked to rateable values, with up to £3,000 per month payable every two weeks, compared to the up to £1,500 every three weeks which was available previously. This could benefit hundreds of thousands of businesses, including restaurants, pubs, nightclubs, bowling alleys and many more.
Businesses will only be eligible to claim the grant while they are subject to restrictions and employees must be off work for a minimum of seven consecutive days.
The new JSS package does not cover Self-Employed workers. It is yet to be seen whether Self-Employed workers, in sectors that have been hit hard financially, will be included in a similar localised restriction scheme moving forwards.
For Self-Employed taxi drivers there were changes to both the Self Employment Income Support Scheme (SEISS) and Bounce Bank loans in late September. An initial taxable grant will be provided to those who are currently eligible for SEISS and are continuing to actively trade but face reduced demand due to the coronavirus.
The initial lump sum will cover three months’ worth of profits for the period from November to the end of January next year. This is worth 20% of average monthly profits, up to a total of £1,875.
An additional second grant, which may be adjusted to respond to changing circumstances, will be available for Self-Employed individuals to cover the period from February 2021 to the end of April.