Government expand Job Support Scheme

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"They include those who have been forced to close but don't occupy premises, as well as those who are being told to stay shut regardless of location - among them bulwarks of our night-time economies and event industries".

The government will pay two-thirds of wages, up to a maximum of £2,100 per month. This is at a higher level than the current furlough scheme.

What changes did Rishi Sunak announce?

"Prospect have always argued that if the government closes a business, or restrictions make it effectively unable to operate, then there must be action to support jobs and wages, including for the self-employed who are left without work".

The Local Furlough Scheme is more generous than the Jobs Support Scheme, announced last month, as the successor to the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme, which ends on October 31.

It is estimated that around half of potential claims are likely not to incur employer NICs or auto-enrolment pension contributions and so face no employer contribution. Employees must be off work for a minimum of seven days to be eligible.

But it could cost "hundreds of millions a month", a treasury source said.

For firms with a rateable value over £51,000, it rises to £3,000-a-month for each two weeks they are required to close.

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This comes alongside intensive engagement with local leaders today on potential measures are coming in their areas.

In addition to the expansion of the Job Support Scheme, the government is increasing the cash grants to businesses in England shut in local lockdowns to support with fixed costs.

While larger businesses will be able to get the full £3,000, paid every two weeks, smaller businesses will be able to claim £1,300 a month.

The grants will be available to firms in England, while Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland will get a £1.3billion boost to their coronavirus fund.

"We need governments to focus on enabling business to continue to freely function, and manage our way through this situation".

Frances O'Grady, general secretary of the umbrella Trades Union Congress, said the scheme will protect jobs in businesses forced to close but urged more support for companies that are not required to close but are nevertheless hurt indirectly by the new restrictions.

"Earlier this week, I wrote to Rishi Sunak outlining the need for an extension to the furlough scheme as the most basic step in a robust programme of interventions needed to protect workers and businesses in areas with new restrictions".

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