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Chancellor increases financial support for businesses affected by COVID restrictions

On 22 October Chancellor Rishi Sunak announced increases to the coronavirus (COVID-19) financial support measures first outlined in the Winter Economy Plan.

The Chancellor has made amendments to the Job Support Scheme (JSS), which is set to take effect from 1 November. When originally announced, the JSS saw employers paying a third of their employees' wages for hours not worked, and required employers to be working 33% of their normal hours.

The Chancellor's latest announcement has reduced the employer contribution to those unworked hours to just 5%, and reduced the minimum hours requirements to 20%, so employees working just one day a week will be eligible. That means that if someone was being paid £587 for their unworked hours, the government would be contributing £543 and their employer only £44.

Additionally, the announcement has increased the amount of profits covered by the two forthcoming self-employed grants from 20% to 40%, meaning the maximum grant will increase from £1,875 to £3,750.

In regard to business grants, the Chancellor also announced approved additional funding to support cash grants of up to £2,100 per month primarily for businesses in the hospitality, accommodation and leisure sector who may be adversely impacted by the COVID-19 restrictions in high-alert level areas.

Commenting on the changes, the Chancellor said: 'I've always said that we must be ready to adapt our financial support as the situation evolves. These changes mean that our support will reach many more people and protect many more jobs.

'I know that the introduction of further restrictions has left many people worried for themselves, their families and communities. I hope the government's stepped-up support can be part of the country pulling together in the coming months.'