UK extends job support plan to firms forced to close due to Covid-19

British Prime Minister Boris Johnson (R) and Britain's Chancellor of the Exchequer Rishi Sunak (L) leave 10 Downing Street for a cabinet meeting in London, Britain.

London, (Asian independent) The UK government will pay two thirds of salaries for employees who worked for firms that were forced to close due to the Covid-19 pandemic, according to an extended job support plan announced by Chancellor Rishi Sunak.

Under the scheme announced on Friday, businesses across the UK whose premises are legally required to shut for some period over winter as part of local or national restrictions will receive grants to pay the wages of staff who cannot work, reports Xinhua news agency.

The government will support eligible businesses by paying two thirds of each employee’s salary, up to a maximum of 2,100 pounds a month, from November 1 and it will be available for six months.

“Throughout the crisis the driving force of our economic policy has not changed,” Sunak said, adding: “I have always said that we will do whatever is necessary to protect jobs and livelihoods as the situation evolves.”

“The expansion of the Job Support Scheme will provide a safety net for businesses across the UK who are required to temporarily close their doors, giving them the right support at the right time.”

In addition, the UK government is increasing the cash grants to businesses in England shut in local lockdowns to support with fixed costs.

These grants will be linked to rateable values, with up to 3,000 pounds per month payable every two weeks, compared with the up to 1,500 pounds every three weeks which was available previously.

A statement from the Treasury said this cash grant plan could benefit hundreds of thousands of businesses, including restaurants, pubs, nightclubs, bowling alleys and many more.

British Chambers of Commerce (BCC) Director General Adam Marshall said: “As welcome as this new support will be for companies shut down by government decree, additional local restrictions and lockdowns will have a material impact on many other firms, especially in supply chains and in town and city centers.

“At the end of the day, no fiscal support will ever be a substitute for an open, functioning economy.

“While the Chancellor deserves thanks for enhancing the support on offer, the goal of all governments across the UK must be to get to a point where wide-ranging restrictions, and the economic disruption they bring, are no longer needed.”