There has been considerable uncertainty over the last few days over whether hospitality businesses may be told to close in the expected announcements later today.
In anticipation of this, the Chancellor announced on Friday a specific extension to the new Job Support Scheme which is coming into play on 1 November for six months.
The extension is more like the outgoing furlough scheme, and in essence it will provide the following support to businesses which are required by law to close:
- Government will pay two thirds of the wages of all staff, subject to a maximum of £2,100 per month (gross) per employee.
- For smaller businesses, the government will also cover social security and pension contributions, although large businesses will still be required to meet these costs.
The government is keen to stress that this does not mean that all pubs and restaurants will definitely be asked to close today, but the announcement has clearly been made in advance to provide some reassurance that if this happens, the support will be there.
The announcement does not relate specifically to hospitality businesses, it does apply to any business which is legally required to close down because of Covid-19, although in practice it is expected that the vast majority of affected businesses will be in that sector.
In addition to this support, there will also be an increase in business grants available to these businesses, of “up to” £3,000 per month. There are no further details on these, however our suspicion is that this is because these grants are assessed and awarded by the regional local authorities, so there may be specific regional variations in the level and eligibility.
As ever we will share more details as they become available. Please keep an eye on our channels and speak to your usual Randall & Payne contact if you have any questions about how this or other support measures affect you or your business – you can contact the Tax team on 01242 776000 or email email@example.com.