Business: North East

Treasury written question – answered on 15th October 2020.

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Photo of Kate Osborne Kate Osborne Labour, Jarrow

To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer, if he will provide additional financial support to businesses that have had to (a) partially close and (b) fully close as a result of local covid-19 lockdown restrictions in the North East.

Photo of Kemi Badenoch Kemi Badenoch The Exchequer Secretary

In order to protect jobs and businesses across the UK, the Chancellor recently announced an expansion to the Job Support Scheme for businesses legally required to temporarily close their premises as a direct result of Coronavirus restrictions. The Government will provide employers with a grant for employees unable to work, covering two thirds of their usual wages and subject to a cap. Support will be available to eligible businesses from 1 November for 6 months, with a review in January.

In addition, the Chancellor recently announced changes to the Local Restrictions Support Grant Scheme which provides grants to businesses which are forced to fully close due to local or national restrictions. Grant funding available has increased to £3,000 per month, and 80% of all Retail, Hospitality, and Leisure businesses in England will have their assumed rents covered in full as a result.

For employers that remain partially open but are subject to lower demand over the winter due to Covid-19, employers can access the other element of the Job Support Scheme that supports part-time working. The Government will pay a third of hours not worked up to a cap, with the employer contributing a third. This will ensure employees can earn a minimum of 77% of their normal wages, where the Government contribution has not been capped.

Employers using the Job Support Scheme will also be able to claim the Job Retention Bonus (JRB) for each employee that meets the eligibility criteria of the JRB. This is worth £1,000 per employee and is paid to the employer. Under the Job Support Scheme and the Job Retention Bonus, an employer could receive over 60% of the wage costs of their employees if they are retained until February. The steps the government is setting out will help to protect jobs, support businesses through uncertain times, and help them prepare for recovery.

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