A new wage support scheme which will see the government pay two-thirds of salaries and offer business grants only to businesses that are legally forced to close as a result of the Covid pandemic.
Firms in England that are required to shut under localised lockdown measures will be able to claim grants of up to £3,000 a month, which should benefit companies in the hospitality sector such as pubs and restaurants.
However, businesses that are not required to close by law will not be eligible for the extension to the Job Support Scheme when it comes into force from November 1.
Labour’s shadow chancellor Anneliese Dodds said the move had come to late for many, and said chancellor Rishi Sunak “still has no plan to support sectors that are currently unable to operate at full capacity”.
She said: “The fact the chancellor is having to tear up his Winter Economic Plan before the autumn is out demonstrates the chaos and incompetence at the heart of government.
“His delay in delivering support has caused unnecessary anxiety and job losses.
“Even at this late stage, he still has no plan to support sectors that are currently unable to operate at full capacity.
“None of this was inevitable if the chancellor had just taken his fingers out of ears and listened to the warnings from Labour and others.
“Businesses and families don’t have the luxury of going at Rishi Sunak’s pace when millions of jobs and livelihoods are on the line.”
Transport and travel union TSSA called the government’s delay on job support “appalling” and reiterated calls for targeted support for the travel trade, including the establishment of a travel trade minister.
General secretary Manuel Cortes said: “It’s been blindingly obvious to everyone except our government that for the public to comply with lockdowns without being condemned to poverty then support must be given.
“We desperately need support for our travel trade which has effectively been put into lockdown as an entire sector. A minister for the travel trade must be established urgently to guide and champion this important industry.
“We have called for targeted support from the outset for good reason. It’s appalling the government has taken so long to listen with countless jobs lost and yet more to come.”
Joss Croft, chief executive of UKinbound, said :“Once again the chancellor has ignored the fact that inbound tourism businesses, that deliver £28 billion in export earnings for the UK every year, are on their knees, unable to fund viable jobs as they’ve been excluded from virtually all government support channels since March.
“Government has already stopped businesses trading due to measures such as quarantine and previous lockdowns, and it therefore needs to compensate all affected companies, not just those facing these new measures or with an obvious shop front.”
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