New Financial Support for Businesses

The UK government will pay two-thirds of the wages of staff in pubs, restaurants and other businesses if they are forced to close under new coronavirus restrictions.

The Chancellor said that the expansion of the jobs support scheme would provide “a safety net” for people and businesses across the UK in advance of potential closures over the winter.

Ministers are expected to outline a three-tier local lockdown system in England on Monday, which could see hospitality venues in coronavirus hotspots being temporarily closed to combat the spread of the virus.

Firms whose premises are legally required to close because of restrictions will receive grants to pay the wages of staff who cannot work, with the government paying two-thirds of each employee’s salary (67%) up to a maximum of £2,100 a month.

Employers will not be required to contribute towards wages, but will be asked to cover national insurance and pension contributions.

Businesses will be able to claim the grant when they are subject to restrictions and employees are off work for at least seven consecutive days.

The scheme will launch on 1 November and run for six months, with a review in January.

Businesses which are already legally closed, such as nightclubs, will also be eligible.

The government is also increasing cash grants available to businesses in England shut in local lockdowns to support with fixed costs. These grants will be linked to rateable values, with up to £3,000 per month payable every two weeks.

This post will be revised and expanded as details become available