The following Answer to an Urgent Question was given in the House of Commons on Tuesday 13 October.
“Yesterday, the Prime Minister and the Chancellor set out further measures to support local authorities through the crisis. On Friday, the Chancellor set out how we will support jobs in every part of the UK through an extension of the Job Support Scheme, and these announcements build on the Chancellor’s September Statement on the winter economic plan.
Throughout the pandemic the economic policy focus has been clear—to save jobs. Last month, we set out our plans to help viable businesses that can open through the Job Support Scheme. However, businesses that are required to close due to coronavirus restrictions will also need our help. On Friday, the Chancellor announced the expansion of the Job Support Scheme. Where coronavirus restrictions legally require business premises to close, we will pay up to two-thirds of an employee’s salary, up to £2,100 a month, if they cannot work for a week or more. The scheme is nationwide and will run for six months.
In addition, businesses in England required to close will be eligible for a non-repayable cash grant of up to £3,000 a month. This can be used for any business costs. On Friday the Chancellor and I agreed with the First Minister of Wales, the First and Deputy First Ministers of Northern Ireland and the Finance Minister of Scotland on this additional package of support. We have now also guaranteed an extra £1.3 billion of funding to the Scottish, Welsh and Northern Irish Administrations if they decide to do something similar, bringing total guaranteed Barnett funding for this year to £14 billion.
In addition, as announced yesterday, we are providing local authorities in England with around £1 billion to protect vital services, and up to £500 million for local authorities at high or very high risk.
These measures build on the Government’s economic package, one of the most generous in the world, and underline our unwavering commitment to the people of this country.”