Coronavirus: Government to cover two-thirds of wages at businesses forced to remain shut

The scheme launches on November 1 and will remain for six months

The UK government is set to cover two-thirds of staff wages at businesses that are forced to remain closed due to coronavirus.

The new scheme was set out by Chancellor Rishi Sunak today (October 9) in addition to the government’s new Winter Economy Plan that was announced last month.

Under the new scheme, which will begin on November 1 (the day after Sunak’s current furlough scheme ends) and run for six months, premises that are legally required to remain shut will be able to receive grants to cover up to 67% of their employees’ salaries.

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The grant will be able to cover up to a maximum of £2,100 a month per employee.

Sunak said: “Throughout the crisis, the driving force of our economic policy has not changed. 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.”

Following the announcement of the Winter Economy Plan, the music industry hit back over the plan’s lack of support for many musicians, self-employed and staff from venues that were forced to close due to COVID-19.

Musicians also recently bemoaned the government’s response to the latest threats to creative workers’ livelihoods, where Sunak suggested those working in the arts retrain in a new sector.

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Liam Gallagher and Johnny Marr were among the artists decrying Sunak’s comments. Gallagher said: “This country would be beyond wank if it wasn’t for the arts and the music and football,” while Marr called Sunak a “moron” for not recognising how crucial entertainment is for people’s wellbeing in a time of crisis.

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