UK Government will pay two-thirds of employees’ wages if businesses are forced to close

Additional £1.3 billion for devolved administrations will allow them “to continue their response to COVID-19”

THE UK Government has announced an expansion of its Job Support Scheme which will see it pay two-thirds of employee wages if their company is forced to close due to coronavirus restrictions.

The Job Support Scheme will come into effect from November 1, replacing the current Job Retention Scheme, and will run for six months. It will be UK-wide.

Announcing the new measures chancellor Rishi Sunak said: “This is a very different scheme to what we’ve had before. This is not a universal approach. This is an expansion of the Job Support Scheme specifically for those people in businesses that will be formally, or legally, asked to close. In that sense it’s very different.

“I’ve always said that we will adapt and evolve our response as the situation on the health side adapts and evolves. That’s what’s happening.”

There will also be support for businesses, but it will only apply to companies in England.

Currently, businesses in England forced to close due to local lockdowns can claim grants of up to £1500 every three weeks. This will be increased to grants of up to £3000 per month.

An additional £1.3 billion will be provided to devolved administrations “allowing them to continue their response to COVID-19 including through similar measures if they wish”.

The Scottish Government has already announced a £40 million package of support for businesses and employees, which will include employment support and business grants. Further information is expected in the coming days.