‘We said we would stand together with the British people and we meant it’

The Staff Canteen

Government to pay 80% of wages for employees but cafes, pubs and restaurants must close from tonight.

There has been a huge sense of relief across social media tonight as the Government announces The Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme, it means those who have stood by their employees will have 80% of their wages paid by the Government.

Restaurants, cafes and bars will be forced to close tonight in order to ramp up ‘social distancing’ but it is unclear for how long they will have to remain shut.

Prime Minister Boris Johnson said: “We will help workers of all kinds to get through this crisis, we will be supporting you directly in a way the government has never done before.

“I am confident that in time the UK economy is going to bounce back.”

He added: “We are collectively telling cafes, bars, pubs and restaurants to close tonight and not to open tomorrow but they can continue to provide take-out meals.”

Chancellor Rishi Sunak said for the first time in the country’s history the government will step in and help to pay people’s wages’ and explained the measures that will be in place to help workers and businesses starting with the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme.

Any employer in the country, small or large, charitable or non-profit, will be eligible for the scheme. Employers will be able to contact HMRC for a grant to cover most of the wages of people who are not working but are furloughed and kept on payroll rather than being laid off.

Government grants will cover 80% of the salary of retained workers up to a total of £2,500 a month and employers can top up salaries further if they choose to. The scheme will cover the cost of wages back dated to March 1 and will be open initially for at least three months.

The first grants are expected to be paid within weeks and the aim is to get it done by the end of April.

The Coronavirus Business Interruption Loan Scheme will be interest free for 12 months and they will be available from Monday. There will be further cashflow support through the tax system, the next quarter of VAT payments will be deferred – no business will pay any VAT from now until the end of June and they will have until the end of the financial year to repay those bills.

He said: “The economic intervention I’m announcing today is unprecedented in the history of the British state.

“I know people are worried about losing their jobs, about not being able to pay their rent to mortgage, about not having enough set by for food and bills – I know that some people already in the past few days have already lost their jobs.

“You will not face this alone, getting through this will take a collective national effort.

“The plan will protect people’s jobs and incomes, offer more generous support to those who are without employment and strengthen the safety net for those who work for themselves.”

Kate Nicholls Chief Executive for UKHospitality said: “This is a big package but there is a growing problem as money doesn’t flow through until the end of April. The lack of urgency and immediacy will cause real problems - no business has yet got their hands on a loan and companies in hospitality - now told to close - will run out of cash.”

“Cash runs out in days not weeks - I suspect many staff will have to be laid off on reduced hours or pay until the money comes through.”

For those who have or do lose their jobs, the Universal Credit standard allowance will increase by £1000 a year for the next 12 months and the working tax credit basic element will also be increased by the same amount.

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The Staff Canteen

The Staff Canteen

Editor 20th March 2020

‘We said we would stand together with the British people and we meant it’