Rishi Sunak announces government will pay two thirds of wages for businesses forced to close

9 October 2020, 15:47 | Updated: 9 October 2020, 16:00

Rishi Sunak announced the extension of the Job Support Scheme
Rishi Sunak announced the extension of the Job Support Scheme. Picture: PA Images
Naomi Bartram

By Naomi Bartram

The Job Support Scheme has been extended to help pubs, restaurants and night clubs in England which have been shut down to coronavirus.

The Chancellor has announced today that the government will cover two-thirds of workers’ wages at businesses forced to close during new coronavirus lockdowns in England.

Under the expanded Job Support Scheme, firms whose premises are legally required to shut over winter as part of local or national lockdowns, can receive grants to pay up to 67% of employees’ salaries.

This will cover wages up to a maximum of £2,100 a month and will sit alongside the original Job Support Scheme announced last month by the Chancellor.

During his speech, Mr Sunak vowed to help those who need it most, saying: “Throughout the crisis, the driving force of our economic policy has not changed.

Rishi Sunak made an announcement on Friday
Rishi Sunak made an announcement on Friday. Picture: PA Images

“I have always said that we will do whatever is necessary to protect jobs and livelihoods as the situation evolves.

“The expansion of the Job Support Scheme will provide a safety net for businesses across the country who are required to temporarily close their doors, giving them the right support at the right time.”

Read More: All the new lockdown restrictions Boris Johnson could announce for England next week

Under the plan, employers won't have to contribute towards wages and will only cover national insurance and pension contributions. 

The Chancellor also announced that pubs, restaurants, nightclubs and other businesses forced to shut will be able to claim £3,000 a month.

While larger businesses will be able to get the full £3,000, paid every two weeks, smaller businesses will be able to claim £1,300 a month.

Medium businesses can claim up to £2,000 per month.

The grants will be available to firms in England, while Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland will get a £1.3billion boost to their coronavirus fund.

This comes after it was revealed that a new lockdown system is likely to be announced by Monday.

This would mean areas of England with the highest rates of coronavirus cases would see pubs and restaurants closed again.

Similar rules came into force in parts of Scotland on Friday where five council areas are closing all licensed venues for 16 days.

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