Chancellor of the Exchequer Rishi Sunak MP today announced an expansion of the Job Support Scheme (JSS) to protect jobs and support UK firms whose premises are legally required to shut for some period over winter as part of local or national restrictions.
Under the expansion, 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. Employers will not be required to contribute towards wages and only asked to cover NICS and pension contributions. 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.
To be eligible, employees must be employed and an RTI submission notifying payment in respect of that employee to HMRC must have been made on or before 23 September. The scheme will begin on 1st November 2020 and will be available for six months, with a review point in January 2021. 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.
Additionally, the Government has announced that it will increase the cash grants to businesses in England closed due to local lockdowns in order to support 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.
The devolved administrations in Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland will benefit from a £1.3 billion increase to their guaranteed funding for 2020-21, to continue their response to Covid-19, including through similar measures if they wish.
In a pre-recorded interview with Sky News to make his announcement, the Chancellor stated that it was right that the Government considers a wide range of options to address case numbers and hospital admissions numbers in large parts of the country. He described the plans as “different” to what the Government has implemented before and that the plans represent a ‘pragmatic and adaptable’ approach.