Chancellor Sets Out Lockdown Job Support

09 Oct 2020

Published in: Black Country Chamber of Commerce News

The Chancellor has outlined a financial support programme for businesses affected by ‘local lockdown’ restrictions.

Rishi Sunak has been forced to open the Treasury cheque book again to support companies told to close in local lockdowns, little more than two weeks after he unveiled his Winter Economic Plan.

Amid claims the Government had turned its back on parts of northern England, which are set to face tougher lockdown restrictions in the coming days, the Chancellor has today set out details of a new local furlough scheme.

Mr Sunak first announced his plan for supporting jobs through the winter on 24 September, including a job support scheme under which the government would pay up to 22 percent of wages of part-time workers.

The Chancellor said he stood ready to do more, but the bad news on the spread of the virus has forced him into action more quickly than he had hoped. Yesterday, Mr Sunak agreed with the Prime Minister on a local furlough scheme to support staff of businesses forced to close.

This afternoon, the Chancellor has outlined the next stage of the job support scheme that will protect jobs and provide a safety net for those businesses that may have to close in the coming weeks and months.

The new furlough scheme will be deployed as tougher new local restrictions are announced next week, covering much of the north of England.

Corin Crane, CEO at the Black Country Chamber of Commerce said: “We are supportive of new measures to protect those working in sectors who have been unable to return due to the pandemic.

“The tourism, hospitality and cultural industry supports more than 135,000 jobs in the West Midlands, which contributes £12.6bn to the local economy. Businesses need stability and a sense of cohesion on new lockdown restrictions and need to be made aware well ahead of time to prepare for new changes to their wage bills.

“Chambers are clear that any new restrictions must go hand in hand with a comprehensive support package and efforts to ensure jobs are protected in the long term - but the Government must rapidly improve and fix the failing test and trace system as this is the only viable way to avoid economic paralysis.”

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