The Chancellor, Rishi Sunak, has announced a wage subsidy package intended to protect millions of jobs.
He and the Prime Minister, Boris Johnson have faced increasing pressure to provide additional support for businesses as many were warning of collapse, putting many jobs at risk.
In his speech, Sunak announced the launch of the coronavirus job protection scheme, where the Government will cover 80% of salaries, up to £2,500 a month, in a bid to protect workers.
The Chancellor also announced that the Coronavirus Business Interruption Loan (CBIL) scheme will now give interest free loans for 12 months rather than six.
The next quarter of VAT payment for firms will also be deferred, providing a £30 billion injection in the economy. The Chancellor stated: “To help businesses keep people in work, I’m deferring the next quarter of VAT payments. No business will pay VAT from now to mid-June. You’ll have until the end of the financial year to repay those bills.”
The unprecedented package also included a £1,000 a year uplift to Universal Credit standard allowance and the Working Tax Credit basic element for the next 12 months. The self-employed will now get the full Universal Credit at a rate equivalent to statutory sick pay and self-assessment payments will be deferred until January 2021.
Richard Beresford commented “This announcement is very welcome news as it addresses some of our key concerns and will keep many more businesses open. Now, we look forward to seeing what assurances the Government will provide for medium sized businesses, the self-employed and the construction industry as a whole.”