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Sunak announces new scheme to subsidise wages

Chancellor Rishi Sunak has announced a new Job Support Scheme to help stave off mass unemployment amid the ongoing coronavirus crisis. The scheme, which will run for six months, will subsidise the pay of employees who are working fewer than their normal hours due to lower demand. Employers will pay for the hours actually worked and one third of the wages lost. The Government will pay for another third of the lost pay while the employee will forego the final third. Only staff who can work at least a third of their normal hours will be eligible for the scheme. Large companies applying for the scheme will need to show that their turnover has been affected by the pandemic. Paul Johnson, director of the Institute for Fiscal Studies, said the Chancellor was “trying to plot a difficult path between supporting viable jobs while not keeping people in jobs that will not be there once we emerge from the crisis”. Mr Sunak’s new wage subsidy scheme will slash state support from 60% per job at the end of October, when the furlough scheme ends, to a maximum of 22%. Separately, the Government announced fresh support for self-employed workers but only at 20% of average monthly trading profits, down from 70% before. Mr Sunak’s move was praised by the Trades Union Congress, the Confederation of British Industry and the British Chambers of Commerce, which said the plan was a “shot in the arm” for businesses. However, Mike Cherry, chairman of the Federation of Small Businesses, said: "The Chancellor had nothing to say for those left out of the first round of support measures - not least the newly self-employed and company directors.”

Read more: City AM


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