The Chancellor Rishi Sunak announced today that businesses affected by restrictions across the UK, will be given extra help to keep staff on with additional support through the Job Support Scheme including a drop in employer contributions to five per cent. And grants for eligible self-employed, which have been doubled from 20 per cent to 40 per cent of previous earnings.
Business grants worth up to £2,100 will be made available to help those that have been particularly affected sectors in high-alert level areas.
Responding to these announcements, Federation of Small Businesses (FSB) National Chair Mike Cherry said: “At a time of immense struggle for many small businesses, these interventions will help to protect jobs, businesses and livelihoods. The Chancellor has shown a willingness to be flexible and adapt interventions as the second wave of the virus escalates.
“With the furlough scheme coming to an end in just a few days, the expansion of the Job Support Scheme will help to reduce the burden on small businesses and give them a shot at surviving this crisis while offering a critical lifeline to millions of jobs. This will be helpful for small firms in all tiers of restrictions and businesses in all sectors.
“But it isn’t just businesses who are forced to close, who need support, these funds must be made available to those in the supply chains of affected firms as well as those without premises, especially those in the hospitality sector.
“Business grants, including those being applied retrospectively to those in Tier 3 areas will be a welcome relief to thousands of businesses who have been left wondering how they’ll survive in the weeks and months ahead. However, it is absolutely critical that Local Authorities distribute these funds as swiftly as possible, avoiding a repeat in the delays that previous grants faced over the spring and summer.
“The upgraded support for the self-employed is vital to helping those individuals, but as with all previous support packages, there are still many who have been left behind.
“Those excluded from income support throughout this crisis, especially company directors and those newly self-employed, are now facing a significant depression in trade caused by these new restrictions and in many cases have no business at all. They deserve to be part of this package of new support but have once again been ignored, the Chancellor should do all he can to address these shortcomings which are urgently needed.“Small businesses are the lifeblood of our communities and the backbone of our economy, which is why it is critical now more than ever that we offer every possible means of support available for the months ahead. The Chancellor must be prepared to act again if this crisis continues to worsen.”