The UK Government has announced new support for businesses.
1) Grants for businesses affected by tier 2 rules
The chancellor has 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 £1bn.
2) A more generous job support scheme (JSS)
Recognising the pressure businesses in some sectors and areas are facing, today’s announcement lightens the burden of keeping on staff.
When originally announced, the JSS – which will come into effect on November 1 – saw employers paying a third of their employees’ wages for hours not worked, and required employers to be working 33% of their normal hours.
Today’s announcement 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.
3) Extra help for the self-employed
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 the maximum grant will increase from £1,875 to £3,750.
This is a potential further £3.1bn of support to the self-employed through November to January alone, with a further grant to follow covering February to April.
Nicola Sturgeon said at 12.45 she had not had the opportunity to study the measures in detail yet but that “on the face of it they look positive” and that “any additional support for business is positive”.
Ms Sturgeon wants to understand what the measures mean in terms of additional funding for the Scottish government, and says they “don’t have that clarity yet”.
She said that discussions are planned this afternoon between the Treasury and Scottish government officials.