“For the first time in our history, the government is going to step in and help to pay people’s wages” said The Chancellor Rishi Sunak and introduced a new “Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme” this Friday evening.
According to this scheme, any business– small or large, private company, charitable or non-profit- in the country will be able to apply to HMRC for payments of up to £2,500 per worker per month. That means workers in any part of the UK can retain their job, even if their employer cannot afford to pay them, and be paid at least 80% of their salary.
The Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme will cover the cost of wages backdated to March 1st and will be open initially for at least three months and The Chancellor promised to extend this date for longer if necessary.
He also said;
• VAT for all businesses is being deferred until the end of June and the business loan scheme will now be interest free for 12 months.
• Tax self-assessments will be deferred until the start of next year.
• Universal Credit (which is a benefit payment for people in or out of work) allowance increases £1,000 a year.
• The self-employed will get full Universal Credit at a rate that is equal to sick pay, and a further £1bn to cover 30% of house rental costs.
Statutory sick pay (SSP) is paid up to 28 weeks to employees who are ill and unable to work. Those who follow advice to stay at home and who cannot work as a result will be eligible for the SSP. However, the UK has one of the lowest rates of SSP in Europe at just £94.25 per week, meaning many employees could suffer.
Although this new scheme was welcomed by employees, it was found inadequate and deeply disappointing by the self-employed. Since this scheme is pushing the self-employed into inadequate benefit packages.
Mr Sunak also promised further measures next week to ensure larger and medium sized businesses will be able to access the credit they need.
On the other hand, Prime Minister Boris Johnson warned people about not going out and to "to protect the NHS and save lives". Cafes, pubs, bars, restaurants, theatres, cinemas and gyms across the UK have been told to close on Friday night and not reopen – except for takeaway services.
However, he ruled out shutting down major transport networks, highlighting its importance for delivering crucial public services".