AGENCIES, London: Chancellor Rishi Sunak has announced a Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme to protect small business jobs as the country faces unprecedented economic challenges due to coronavirus. The support is designed to ensure welfare of pay as you earn (PAYE) small business employee are able to cover 80 per cent of their regular salary up to £2,500 a month. The scheme will be backdated to March 1 to cover a three-month period initially.
Sunak said there was no limit on how much this job-retention scheme might cost, which will be financed through the national debt. The government expects the first job-retention grants to be payed before the end of April.
Sunak also announced that small businesses would be able to defer next quarter’s VAT, a direct injection of £30bn of cash-flow support for SMEs.
Sunak said his latest package was unprecedented in the history of the British state and the measures “will protect jobs and strengthens the safety net. Sunak assured businesses that the government was doing its best to stand beside them and them to do their best to support workers.
Other measures announced include a £7bn of extra support through the benefits system besides unlimited loans and guarantees to support firms and help them manage cashflows through this period.
Prime minister Boris Johnson added: “I know how much businesses need the financial reassurance we are giving.
“We will stand by you and we will do everything in our power to do that, supporting you in a way that government has never done before.” Johnson also announced that all cafes, bars, pubs and restaurants will close from tonight, along with nightclubs, theatres, gyms and leisure centres.