The Chancellor Rishi Sunak announced in the House of Commons on Thursday morning that there will be a new support package for businesses affected by tier 2 restrictions.
The new financial plan will help businesses, particularly pubs and restaurants who have seen a fall in trade due to the government’s restrictions.
The Job Support Scheme (JSS) will now be made more generous, and employer contributions will be reduced, with minimum hours cut.
He said: “Areas in the North – I understand your frustration – people need to know this is not forever, they are temporary restrictions. There are difficult months and days ahead.
“We will listen and respond to people’s concerns.”
He said the fall in consumer demand is causing “profound harm to hospitality” and will fund local authorities to provide businesses direct cash grants.
The three measures will “protect more jobs and support more businesses through the difficult winter months ahead.”
JSS employees will now only need to work one day a week to be eligible, and the government has significantly reduced the amount that employers have to contribute.
Sunak said that he will double the value of grants for those self-employed, and will provide cash grants, mainly to the hospitality and leisure businesses in T2 areas worth up £2,100 a month.
He told MPs, “This is the third time I have outlined additional support for economy, a sign of seriousness of situation we face.”
The Chancellor said at the heart of this debate, there “is a more fundamental approach on protecting livelihoods and lives.
“With every restriction comes difficulty, which is why we are trying to strike that balance.”
He warned that the economy is facing an enormous strain, and that more people will lose their jobs, and “a regional targeted approach is the right approach to protect livelihoods.”
Richard Burge, Chief Executive of London Chamber of Commerce and Industry (LCCI) said, “As restrictions began to again ramp up, LCCI and the chamber network stressed that the Government needed to ensure that the support package was once again based upon supporting business survival, rather than recovery. The impact of Tier 2 on hospitality businesses, yet the lack of support available, was clear to see.
“It’s good to see that the Chancellor continues to be responsive to business needs as this crisis progresses. Whilst they will need to study the detail, at face value, firms will welcome today’s intervention and its suitability to the current climate.
“London’s hospitality sector will however still be hoping that in light of Tier 2 restrictions, the basis for the 10pm curfew is reassessed.