Stoke Staffs LEP
Chancellor outlines Winter Economy Plan
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Chancellor outlines Winter Economy Plan

The Chancellor Rishi Sunak has outlined the latest support to businesses and workers impacted by coronavirus across the UK.

LEP chairman Alun Rogers said:

Since the pandemic began we knew it was essential to put in place every support initiative we could and have worked successfully with our partners to ensure this happened. It has been vital that businesses and employees know where to go to access this support.

“The Job Retention Scheme has been a huge success, but it ends in October, so it was important that the Government acted now to bring in this new scheme, which begins on November 1.

“There are a range of local and national support schemes, tailored to the needs of individuals and businesses. It’s essential that they know where to go and our Growth Hub team is the first port of call so they can be advised and signposted to the support they need.

“Partnership working has never been as important as now. Together we will maintain our focus on improving people’s skills and supporting employers to create jobs, particularly in our key sectors of research and development, tech-digital, manufacturing and logistics. This will help us continue our drive for a green economic recovery in Stoke-on-Trent and Staffordshire.”

The measures announced this week are:

Job support scheme

  • A new Job Support Scheme will be introduced from 1 November to protect viable jobs in businesses who are facing lower demand over the winter months due to coronavirus. Under the scheme, which will run for six months, the government will contribute towards the wages of employees who are working fewer than normal hours due to decreased demand.
  • Employers will continue to pay the wages of staff for the hours they work – but for the hours not worked, the government and the employer will each pay one third of their equivalent salary. In order to support only viable jobs, employees must be working at least 33% of their usual hours. The level of grant will be calculated based on employee’s usual salary, capped at £697.92 per month. The Job Support Scheme will be open to businesses across the UK even if they have not previously used the furlough scheme, with further guidance being published in due course.

 Self-employment income support scheme

  • The Government is continuing its support for millions of self-employed individuals by extending the Self Employment Income Support SchemeGrant (SEISS). An initial taxable grant will be provided to those who are currently eligible for SEISS and are continuing to actively trade but face reduced demand due to coronavirus. The initial lump sum will cover three months’ worth of profits for the period from November to the end of January next year. This is worth 20% of average monthly profits, up to a total of £1,875. An additional second grant, which may be adjusted to respond to changing circumstances, will be available for self-employed individuals to cover the period from February 2021 to the end of April.

Tax cuts and deferrals

  • The temporary 15% VAT cut for the tourism and hospitality sectors will be extended to the end of March next year. In addition, business who deferred their VAT bills will be given more breathing space through the New Payment Scheme, which gives them the option to pay back in smaller instalments. Self-assessment taxpayers will be able to benefit from a separate additional 12-month extension from HMRC on the “Time to Pay” self-service facility, meaning payments deferred from July 2020, and those due in January 2021, will now not need to be paid until January 2022.

Giving businesses flexibility to pay back loans

  • Businesses who took out a Bounce Back Loan will be given the option to repay their loan over a period of up to ten years through a new Pay as You Grow flexible repayment system. Interest-only periods of up to six months and payment holidays will also be available to businesses.
  • Coronavirus Business Interruption Loan Scheme lenders will be given the ability to extend the length of loans from a maximum of six years to ten years if it will help businesses to repay the loan.

The government is extending four temporary loan schemes to 30 November 2020 for new applications: As a result, more businesses will now be able to benefit from the Coronavirus Business Interruption Loan Scheme, the Coronavirus Large Business Interruption Loan Scheme, the Bounce Back Loan Scheme and the Future Fund.

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