As England enters its second lockdown today, an extension to furlough support has been announced
According to Chancellor Rishi Sunak, the new scheme will continue until March 2021, which will see the government continue to pay 80% of furloughed workers’ wages.
Last week the government announced that the new scheme would cover up to a maximum of £2,500, with a reduction in costs to employers, who will only be required to pay National Insurance and employer pension contributions. In addition, businesses forced to close are eligible for grants worth up to £3,000 per month under the Local Restrictions Support Grant.
‘Extending the furlough scheme is a big boost and will help secure hospitality jobs in the medium term across the whole of the UK,’ said Kate Nicholls, CEO of UK Hospitality. ‘Keeping jobs alive during this lockdown and throughout a bleak-looking winter period, which is likely to see businesses trading under severe restrictions, is key to the future survival of the sector.’
Nicholls added: ‘We will need enhanced grant support to keep venues alive and a solution to the ongoing rent debt problem that continues to linger over the sector. These must come alongside a clear roadmap for a return to business. Without these, the extended furlough scheme alone is not enough to keep hospitality alive and will have been a wasted investment of public funds.’
‘The Chancellor has listened to our concerns on the impact of coronavirus measures on the sector and delivered on some of the immediate support we need,’ said Emma McClarkin, Chief Executive of the British Beer & Pub Association. ‘The extension of the full furlough scheme until March 2021 will give businesses some certainty on the support they need for the difficult months ahead. It also recognises that tier three restrictions have the same devastating financial impact on our pubs and brewers as a full lockdown. This will give some comfort to our staff and provide our businesses with a better chance to survive these unprecedented times.’
McClarkin also called for a review of the tiered system, and for a longer-term stimulus package for the sector, including an extension of the VAT cut and the Business Rates holiday, as well as a beer duty cut.