CHANCELLOR Rishi Sunak has unveiled a multibillion-pound package of support for the economy in a bid to stave off mass redundancies this winter.
As the country faces a further Coronavirus clampdown, Mr Sunak revealed the replacement for the furlough scheme which ends in November in order to ‘adapt and evolve’ the support for business.
In its place comes the Job Support Scheme for six months from November 1 meaning employers can bring staff back off furlough in ‘viable jobs’ as long as the staff work a minimum of 33 per cent of their usual hours.
In return the Government and the employer will each pay a third of the outstanding wages.
Therefore anyone in a small or medium sized business who returns to work on 33 per cent of their usual hours will get 77 per cent of their usual salary.
Larger businesses must show their turnover has fallen during the crisis. Employers can use it even if they have not previous used the furlough scheme it replaces.
In the period which covered the period up to June 30, figures showed around a third of workers across Worcestershire were furloughed.
In Wychavon, 18,500 employees were on the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme – around 31 per cent.
Bromsgrove had 13,900 workers furloughed out of 45,000 – the equivalent of 31 per cent.
Redditch had 14,800 furloughed out of 42,800 employees on the scheme with the Worcestershire district most reliant being Wyre Forest which covers Kidderminster, with 15,100 people furloughed out of 43,600 staff, or 35 per cent of the workforce.
Worcester has 16,600 workers on the scheme out 52,100 – or 32 per cent and Malvern is on 32 per cent with 10,000 staff furloughed.
The existing grant for self-employed people is being extended on similar terms to the Jobs Support Scheme.
Mr Sunak said businesses will not be able to issue redundancy notices to employees on the Job Support Scheme – and there will be restrictions on capital distributions to shareholders.
Businesses who took Government loans during the initial Coronavirus lockdown now have 10 years to repay the Government, up from the initial six. Coronavirus Business Interruption Loans (CBIL) will also be extended for up to 10 years.
January’s proposed rise in VAT from the lockdown level of five per cent to 20 per cent in January has been postponed until the end of March in a bid to ease pressure on the country’s ailing hospitality and tourism industry.