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Business and Unemployment: Coronavirus

Question for Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy

UIN HL9752, tabled on 28 October 2020

To ask Her Majesty's Government what assessment they have made of job loss estimates reported by the New Economics Forum on 21 October; and what plans they have to increase the wage subsidy for businesses accessing COVID-19 economic support.

Answered on

11 November 2020

The Government is committed to ensuring workers across all regions are supported through this difficult time. Since the initial estimates were published by the New Economics Foundation (NEF) on 21 October, the Government has announced further revisions to the Job Support Scheme. The Job Support Scheme Open is at the heart of the Government’s efforts to protect viable jobs in businesses experiencing reduced demand, which was the focus of the New Economics Foundation’s research. The Government has increased the generosity of the scheme, ensuring that more jobs are protected.

Since the 21 October NEF publication, the Government has reduced the minimum hours that must be worked by employees to 20% from 33% and increased the wage subsidy provided by the Government from 33% to 61.67% of unworked time, up to a maximum monthly contribution of £1541.75. Employers must now pay for 5% of unworked time, down from 33%, up to a monthly cap of £125. This will ensure workers receive at least 73% of their salary while on the scheme, up to a salary limit of £3,125.

The New Economics Foundation itself has since said that they “welcome the improvements” the Government have made to the scheme.