The Mayor of London, Sadiq Khan, today calls for hospitality workers to receive support worth 8% of their wages from ministers.
He reiterated his call for an urgent extension to the Jobs Support Scheme as new City Hall analysis shows that the UK is falling behind many other European countries when it comes to protecting jobs in hospitality, retail, culture and leisure, all of which have been devastated by the pandemic.
Currently, the Government’s extended Job Support Scheme only helps businesses that are legally required to close in ‘Very High’ local alert levels.
Across London and much of the country – in ‘Medium’ and ‘High’ local alert levels – the Government will only cover 22% of wages for employed staff, and 20% of profits for self-employed people leaving many sectors, including the hard-hit hospitality industry, on a financial knife-edge.
Today, Sadiq has called for the return of a job-retention programme which matches the 80 per cent furlough scheme on offer at the start of lockdown – this would be available to businesses in all different alert levels or tiers.
New City Hall analysis of support packages across European countries shows that:
- In Spain, unemployment aid covers up to 70% of an individual’s salary and does not reduce a worker’s right to ask for support in the future.
- In Germany, a large portion of a worker’s lost income is picked up by the State. For the hours not worked, an employee initially receives 60 per cent of their wage and is fully paid for the actual hours worked. This rises to 80% after six months. If children live in the household, the support is even more generous.
- In France, an employer pays compensation equal to 70% of the gross salary (approximately 84% of the net) to its employees with a minimum of €8.03 per hour, regardless of the size of the company. The company will then be fully reimbursed by the State, for salaries up to €6,927 gross monthly, which is four and a half times the minimum wage. The partial unemployment scheme applies to all sectors affected by curfews.
The Mayor of London, Sadiq Khan said, “The Chancellor said he’d do whatever it takes to support businesses – now it’s essential that he remains true to his word and steps up to offer the help businesses need, in line with what we are seeing across Europe.
“The 80 per cent furlough scheme was a lifeline for many businesses at the start of the pandemic, and it is this level of support London’s hospitality sector now needs to prevent further widespread unemployment and ensure our world-leading employers can begin to recover.
“Until the Government gets a grip on this virus, ministers have an obligation to give businesses the support they need to survive while restrictions remain in place.”
Sadiq has also this week called for the current 10pm curfew policy to be scrapped. Now that London and other parts of the country have moved into tier 2 and higher restrictions, prohibiting household mixing, 10pm curfew policy has become largely redundant. Immediately scrapping the 10pm curfew would allow more sittings of single households in restaurants throughout the evening, helping with cashflow at a time when venues need all the support they can get.