23rd October 2020
The Chancellor yesterday announced a number of significant enhancements to the Job Support Scheme. He has added to the Government contribution to those businesses that have been legally forced to close by Governments across the UK (JSS Closed) and also help for those businesses impacted by the closure orders but are still legally able to remain open (JSS Open). These schemes are open to all businesses by and large including the amusement industry supply chain. Details can be found here: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/the-job-support-scheme/the-job-support-scheme
The employee will need to work a minimum of 20% of their usual hours and the employer will continue to pay them as normal for the hours worked. Alongside this, the employee will receive 66.67% of their normal pay for the hours not worked – this will be made up of contributions from the employer and from the government. The employer will pay 5% of reference salary for the hours not worked, up to a maximum of £125 per month, with the discretion to pay more than this if they wish. The government will pay the remainder of 61.67%, of reference salary for the hours not worked, up to a maximum of £1,541.75 per month. This will ensure employees continue to receive at least 73% of their normal wages, where they earn £3,125 a month or less.
- Employers with over 250 employees need to have undertaken a Financial Impact Test demonstrating their turnover has remained equal or fallen to show they have been adversely affected due to coronavirus;
- Employers with less than 250 employees are not required to satisfy the test.
Some, or all, of their employees are working reduced hours – employees must still be working for at least 20% of their usual hours
Each employee who cannot work due to these restrictions will receive two thirds of their normal pay, paid by their employer and fully funded by the government, to a maximum of £2,083.33 per month, although their employer has discretion to pay more than this if they wish . This will help protect employee incomes, limit unemployment and retain employer-employee matches so that these premises are able to reopen as quickly as possible when circumstances allow.
The Job Support Scheme will be open from 1 November 2020 and run until 30 April 2021. The government will review the terms of the scheme in January. Employers will be able to claim in arrears from 8 December 2020, with payments made after the claim has been approved.
Eligible employers will be able to claim the JSS Closed grant for employees:
- whose primary work place is at the premises that have been legally required to close as a direct result of coronavirus restrictions set by one or more of the four governments of the UK
- that the employer has instructed to and who cease work for a minimum period of at least 7 consecutive calendar days
Enhanced changes have also been made to the Self-employed scheme. Click here for details. https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/self-employment-income-support-scheme-grant-extension/self-employment-income-support-scheme-grant-extension
In addition there will be grants available for eligible businesses impacted by the Tier 2 restrictions (Tier 3 impacted business grants have previously been announced) in England Click here for details https://assets.publishing.service.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/928760/BUSINESS_GRANTS_FACTSHEET.pdf
- The Government are providing additional funding to allow Local Authorities (LAs) to support businesses in high-alert level areas which are not legally closed, but which are severely impacted by the restrictions on socialising. The funding LAs will receive, will be based on the number of hospitality, hotel, B&B, and leisure businesses in their area.
- LAs will receive a funding amount that will be the equivalent of:
- For properties with a rateable value of £15,000 or under, grants of £934 per month.
- For properties with a rateable value over £15,000 and below £51,000, grants of £1,400 per month.
- For properties with a rateable value of exactly £51,000 and over, grants of £2,100 per month.
- This is equivalent to 70% of the grant amounts given to legally closed businesses (worth up to £3,000/month).
- Local Authorities will also receive a 5% top up amount to these implied grant amounts to cover other businesses that might be affected by the local restrictions, but which do not neatly fit into these categories.
- It will be up to Local Authorities to determine which businesses are eligible for grant funding in their local areas, and what precise funding to allocate to each business – the above levels are an approximate guide.
- Businesses in Very High alert level areas will qualify for greater support whether closed (up to £3,000/month) or open. In the latter case support is being provided through business support packages provided to Local Authorities as they move into the alert level. The government is working with local leaders to ensure the Alert Level very high packages are fair and transparent.
In essence it will be for local authorities to determine eligibility but as far as I can see there is no restriction on this being available to businesses in our supply chain.
Members will no doubt have seen that South Yorkshire has been moved to Tier 3 and that in Scotland the First Minister has extended the lockdown measures there until November 2nd. We continue to fight for members impacted and appreciate all the letters members are also writing to keep explaining the impact on your businesses. I am planning another round of activity next week with the government of England, Scotland and Wales and tomorrow will be speaking to senior civil servants at the DCMS and directly to the Exchequer Secretary at the Treasury, Kemi Badenoch.
The national lockdown in Wales starts tonight and lasts until 9th November. The JSS support scheme above will be available for members. We are awaiting more details on the grants that the WG has said they will pay. This is what I have been able to ascertain so far:
Economic Resilience Fund
The Economic Resilience Fund is being enhanced to almost £300m, which includes an extra £150m to support to businesses affected by the firebreak. It also includes an additional £20m to the £80m fund already announced to help businesses develop in the longer term, of which £20m has been ring-fenced for tourism and hospitality. Looking at this it seems it is geared towards project funding. However the third phase of ERF also includes a Lockdown Business Fund which will be delivered by local authorities to eligible businesses of:
- Every business occupying a property with a rateable value of £12,001 or less will be eligible for a £1,000 payment.
- Retail, leisure and hospitality businesses forced to close during the firebreak lockdown period occupying a property with a rateable value between £12,001 and £51,000 will be eligible for a £5,000 payment.
- A discretionary £2,000 top-up grant will be made available on an application basis for those businesses with a rateable value of £12,000 or less who are forced to close by the firebreak lockdown.
- A further discretionary £1,000 grant will be made available to businesses on the same basis where they are materially affected by local lockdown measures for 21 days or more prior to the start of the firebreak lockdown period.
Until we see the details we won’t know if we have another fight on our hands over the exclusion of AGCs in the eligible businesses.