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Government launches business Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme

Government launches business Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme

Chancellor Rishi Sunak has announced a Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme to protect small business jobs.

Any PAYE-qualifying small business employee will qualify for the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme, which will cover 80 per cent of a regular salary up to £2,500 a month, just above the median income.

>See also: How to get the government’s £10,000 cash grant for small businesses

Small business owners must apply to HMRC and the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme will be backdated to March 1 to cover a three-month period.

Sunak said there was no limit on how much this job-retention scheme might cost, which will be financed through the national debt.

The government expects the first job-retention grants to be payed before the end of April.

Sunak also announced that small businesses would be able to defer next quarter’s VAT, a direct injection of £30bn of cash-flow support for SMEs.

>See also: How do I apply for a Coronavirus Business Interruption Loan?

Sunak called his latest package “unprecedented in the history of the British state … you will not face this alone”.

This package of measures “will protect jobs and strengthens the safety net”, the chancellor reiterated.

Sunak said: “The government is doing its best to stand beside you and I am asking you to do your best to support workers.

Other measures announced include a £7bn of extra support through the benefits system:

  • Increasing universal credit by £12,000 for one year
  • Self-employed people who lose jobs qualifying for the minimum income floor
  • Next self-assessment payments deferred until 2021

Sunak said: “We will remember the small acts of kindness … the small business to do everything they can to protect their staff.”

Prime minister Boris Johnson added: “I know how much businesses need the financial reassurance we are giving.

“We will stand by you and we will do everything in our power to do that, supporting you in a way that government has never done before.”

Johnson also announced that all cafes, bars, pubs and restaurants to close from tonight, along with nightclubs, theatres, gyms and leisure centres.

The hospitality and entertainment sector closures will be reviewed each month.

Further reading on coronavirus

Coronavirus government statutory sick pay – how to apply for it

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