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Chancellor Announces Further Winter Support for Businesses and Workers

The government announced today that it will increase the amounts and reach of its winter support schemes.

Acknowledging the challenging times ahead, the Chancellor of the Exchequer Rishi Sunak said he would be increasing support. This will be through the existing Job Support and self-employed schemes, and also expanding business grants to support companies in high-alert level areas.

H M Treasury has stated that open businesses which are experiencing difficulty will be given extra help to keep staff on. The Government will increase contributions to wage costs under the Job Support Scheme, and business contributions will drop to 5%.

Business grants are going to be expanded to cover businesses in particularly affected sectors in high-alert level areas. Another announcement was that grants for the self-employed will be doubled – to 40% of their previous earnings.

Red trees in park

Job Support Scheme (JSS) Changes

The JSS – due to start on 1 November, originally saw employers paying a third of their employees’ wages for hours not worked. It also required employees to be working 33% of their normal hours.

Today’s announcement reduces the employer contribution to those unworked hours to 5%. It also reduces the minimum hours requirements to 20%, so those working just one day a week will be eligible. It means that if someone was being paid £587 for their unworked hours, for example, the government would contribute £543 and their employer £44.

Self-Employed Grant Increases

Today’s announcement increases the amount of profits covered by the two forthcoming self-employed grants from 20 per cent to 40 per cent, meaning that the maximum grant will increase from £1,875 to £3,750.

Business Grants

The Chancellor has also announced that additional funding has been approved to support cash grants of up to £2,100 per month. These grants are primarily for businesses in the hospitality, accommodation and leisure sectors 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. 

These grants could benefit around 150,000 businesses in England: including hotels, restaurants, B&Bs and many more who are not legally required to close but have been adversely affected by local restrictions.

See: Chancellor increases financial support for businesses and workers

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