Chancellor of the Exchequer, Rishi Sunak, has announced a series of additional measures to help safeguard viable jobs and protect businesses across Wales and the UK over the winter months.
The Chancellor delivered a speech in Parliament to announce these additional measures.
The package will include a new Job Support Scheme to protect millions of returning workers, extending the Self Employment Income Support Scheme and 15% VAT cut for the hospitality and tourism sector, and help for businesses in repaying government-backed loans.
The announcement comes as additional measures to combat the spread of Coronavirus have been outlined.
The Chancellor said:
“I understand that the resurgence of the virus and the restrictions imposed as a result present a new challenge to businesses and workers which are already struggling.
“That’s why I have brought forward UK-wide measures to directly support Welsh jobs and companies through this next phase of the crisis.
“I was always clear that I wouldn’t hesitate to act in a creative and effective way to protect the Welsh economy and these measures represent that commitment.”
Simon Hart, Secretary of State for Wales commented:
“The UK Government has directly supported more than 500,000 jobs in Wales during the coronavirus pandemic and our Winter Economic Plan sets out the next steps to tackle the ongoing and unprecedented economic impact of the virus.
“The new Job Support Scheme, the extension of the Self-Employment Income Support Scheme and the other measures announced by the Chancellor will help keep people in jobs, extend crucial support to businesses and give them the certainty they need.
“The struggle against Covid-19 is the biggest crisis Wales and the UK has faced in decades but we will do everything we can to protect jobs and the economy while keeping people safe.”
The UK Government have been consistently clear that they would keep support under review to protect jobs and the economy, with today’s action reflecting the evolving circumstances and uncertainty the future months hold.
The package of support, which applies to all regions and nations of the UK includes:
Support for workers
The Job Support Scheme (JSS) which will be introduced from the 1st November will protect viable jobs that have been impacted by the coronavirus.
The JSS will run for six months to keep employees in their jobs, as the employers and UK Government will work closely to pay wages.
Employers will continue paying staff for the hours they have worked, with the UK government and employers working together to pay one third each of the wage.
In order to ensure only viable jobs are being supported, staff will have to work at least 33% of their usual hours. The level of the grant will be calculated based on the usual salary of the employee and will be capped at £697.92 per month.
Even if businesses did not use the furlough scheme previously, they are still eligible for the Job Support Scheme.
The Government will also be extending the Self Employment Income Scheme Grant. An initial taxable grant will be provided to those who are currently eligible for SEISS and are continuing to actively trade. The initial 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.
A second grant will also then be available for self employed individuals to help cover the period from February 2021 till the end of April, ensuring the support continues through till next year.
Tax cuts and deferrals
The UK Government also announced that it has extended the temporary 15% VAT cut for the tourism and hospitality sectors to the end of March next year.
In addition, up to half a million business who deffered their VAT bills will be given more breathing space through the New Payment Scheme, giving the option to pay back in smaller instalments. Rather than paying a lump sum in full at the end March next year, they will be able to make 11 smaller interest-free payments during the 2021-22 financial year.
Businesses given flexibility to pay back loans
The burden will be lifted on more than a million businesses who took out a Bounce Back Loan through a new Pay as You Grow flexible repayment system. This will provide flexibility for firms repaying a Bounce Back Loan. This includes extending the length of the loan from six years to ten, which will cut monthly repayments by nearly half. Interest-only periods of up to six months and payment holidays will also be available to businesses. These measures will further protect jobs by helping businesses recover from the pandemic.