The government has expanded the financial support available for businesses hit by regional COVID-19 restrictions, in a move particularly welcomed by hospitality businesses.
Open businesses which are experiencing considerable difficulty will be given extra help to keep staff on as government significantly increases contribution to wage costs under the Job Support Scheme, and business contributions drop to 5%.
The Job Support Scheme, which will come into effect on 1 November, is more generous than previously planned, and reduces the employer contribution to those unworked hours to just 5%, and reduces the minimum hours requirements to 20%, so those working just one day a week will be eligible. That means that if someone was being paid £587 for their unworked hours, the government would be contributing £543 and their employer only £44.
Employers will continue to receive the £1,000 Job Retention Bonus. The Job Support Scheme Closed for businesses legally required to close remains unchanged.
The Chancellor has also announced approved additional funding to support cash grants of up to £2,100 per month primarily for businesses in the hospitality, accommodation and leisure sector who may be adversely impacted by the restrictions in high-alert level areas. These grants will be available retrospectively for areas who have already been subject to restrictions, and come on top of higher levels of additional business support for Local Authorities moving into Tier 3 which, if scaled up across the country, would be worth more than £1 billion.
Responding to the Chancellor’s latest support package for businesses, Tim Rycroft, Chief Operating Officer at FDF said: “Food and drink manufacturers supplying the hospitality industry will greatly welcome today’s significantly more generous announcement by the Chancellor. An extension of the Job Support Scheme for those businesses that remain open will help ensure the survival of many food and drink businesses which supply the out-of-home and food service sectors. We await to see further details about which businesses in high-alert level areas will be able to apply for the new grant scheme but we are pleased to see it will benefit our friends in hospitality at this difficult time.”