Chancellor Rishi Sunak has announced a Job Support Scheme to top up the wages of employees unable to work full-time because of coronavirus restrictions over the winter.
The scheme – which is far less generous than the furlough system which supported more than 9 million workers during the first wave of Covid-19 – formed part of a Winter Economic Plan unveiled by the chancellor in the House of Commons.
Mr Sunak confirmed that furlough will end as planned on 31 October, despite warnings that this will lead to a “tsunami” of job losses. The new support scheme will begin the following day, but previously furloughed workers will not be eligible unless they can work at least one-third of their normal hours.
In order to qualify for the Job Support Scheme, in place from 1 November and due to run for six months, employees must be working at least one-third of normal hours and be paid as normal for that work by their employers.
The government and employers will then each pay one-third of wages for hours not worked.
The state’s contribution will be capped at £697.92 per month for each worker, and employers are still able to claim the £1,000 one-off Jobs Retention Bonus for formerly furloughed staff who remain in post until at least February.
The chancellor said his primary goal was to support jobs, but told MPs that this could not include maintaining workers who are unable to work at all under the coronavirus restrictions announced by Boris Johnson earlier this week.
He confirmed that the furlough scheme will be shut down as planned on 31 October.
Self Employed Income Support Scheme and Loans
In a statement which replaced the cancelled autumn budget, Mr Sunak also announced an extension of the Self Employment Income Support Scheme, and said that more than one million businesses will be granted flexibility in paying back loans.
Also, businesses in the hospitality and tourism sectors will also benefit from a 15 per cent VAT cut.
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