‘Second furlough’ to pay two thirds of wages for companies shut in lockdowns

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Chancellor of the Exchequer, Rich Sunak, has confirmed a “second furlough” scheme for UK businesses forced to shut up shop in local lockdowns.

Mr Sunak said the government is prepared to pay two thirds of wages for staff who work in pubs, restaurants, and other businesses forced to close.

The second furlough scheme will protect jobs and provide "reassurance and a safety net" for people and businesses across the UK in advance of a potentially "difficult winter."

Chancellor Sunak said on Friday October the Government will pay two thirds of each employee's salary up to a maximum of £2,100 a month.

He also confirmed a second policy, which will give businesses an immediate cash grant that will not have to be paid to the government.

Mr Sunak announced the expansion of the scheme on Twitter and set out the government’s Winter Economy Plan, which includes extra funding for the NHS.

He also said protecting jobs is a priority, and announced a "tool-kit" for businesses that doesn't change every time health measures do.

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The Chancellor said: "I’m announcing today that I’m expanding the Jobs Support Scheme.

"Where the coronavirus restrictions legally require business premises to close, in any region or nation of the UK, we will help pay employees’ wages.

"So, if your business does close their doors, and you cannot work at all for one week or more, your employer will pay you two thirds of your normal salary, up to £2,100 a month – and the UK government will cover the cost. The scheme applies to all business premises legally required to close."

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He said the scheme will include jobs asked to operate on a collection or delivery basis, which Sunak said the government will only ask businesses to pay employer National Insurance and pension contributions.

Mr Sunak said: "That includes those told to operate on a collection only or delivery basis.

"Unlike the Jobs Support Scheme for open businesses, all we’ll ask businesses to pay is Employer NI and pension contributions.

"The Jobs Support Scheme – whether for open or closed businesses – will open on November 1st.

"Pay grants from early December. Remain open for six months. And we’ll review the scheme, in January."

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The Chancellor also announced a new cash grant policy for businesses, which will not have to be paid to the government.

Small businesses will be able to claim £1,300 a month, medium business, with properties worth between £15,000 and £51,000, £2,000, and larger businesses can claim £3,000.

He said: I’m also announcing a second new policy today.

"If you’re a business in England, and have been legally required to close, we’ll also give you a cash grant that will never have to be repaid. And I’m making those grants more valuable than we’d previously planned.

"The smallest businesses can now claim £1,300 per month. Medium sized businesses – with properties worth between £15,000 and £51,000 – can claim £2,000 per month. And larger businesses can claim £3,000, all paid in two fortnightly instalments."

  • Coronavirus

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