Over the course of the last month, the Chancellor has announced an unprecedented package of support to assist individuals and businesses.
Grants of £10,000 or £25,000 have been given to hundreds of local businesses already to tide them over through the necessary suspension of their activities.
At the same time, government guaranteed loans, tax deferments, welfare expansion and employment schemes have been some of the most comprehensive measures in the world.
This also includes the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme, which allows employers to claim a grant covering 80% of the wages for a furloughed employee, subject to a cap of £2,500 a month. This means that businesses can retain their staff without fear of it costing them their company during these difficult times.
However, I have had many constituents contact me, concerned that they were not covered by the scheme. For some, this was because they had started a new job after 28 February – the original date given in order to qualify.
But following a review of the delivery system and to ensure the scheme helps as many people as possible, new guidance has confirmed the eligibility date has been extended to 19 March 2020– the day before the scheme was announced.
Employers can claim for furloughed employees that were employed and on their PAYE payroll on or before 19 March 2020.
This change makes the scheme more effective while keeping the substantial fraud risks under control and is expected to benefit over 200,000 employees, including many in Torridge and West Devon.
Thanks to this scheme, thousands of people will continue having the security of a job and a regular wage, allowing them to continue providing for their family.
While for businesses, not only will they be able to continue to operate without the worry of a considerable wage bill to cover, it will assist them to bounce back more easily once we have come through these current troubled times.
If you are a business and want to know if you qualify, please visit the dedicate website at www.gov.uk/coronavirus for more information.