Last reviewed 9 October 2020

In an extension to the Jobs Support Scheme (JSS), which is due to begin on 1 November 2020, Chancellor Rishi Sunak has announced that businesses across the UK are to be given support if required to close their premises due to coronavirus restrictions.

Those legally required to shut for some period over winter as part of local or national restrictions will receive grants to pay the wages of staff who cannot work with the aim, the Chancellor explained, of protecting jobs and enabling businesses to reopen quickly once restrictions are lifted.

Eligible businesses will see two-thirds of each employees’ salary (or 67%) paid by the Government up to a maximum of £2100 a month.

“The expansion of the Job Support Scheme will provide a safety net for businesses across the UK who are required to temporarily close their doors,” Mr Sunak said, “giving them the right support at the right time.”

Under the revised scheme, employers will not be required to contribute towards wages and will only be asked to cover National Insurance contributions (NICs) and pension contributions.

Businesses will only be eligible to claim the grant while they are subject to restrictions and employees must be off work for a minimum of seven consecutive days.

The scheme will be available for six months, with a review point in January. In line with the rest of the JSS, payments to businesses will be made in arrears, via an HM Revenue & Customs (HMRC) claims service that will be available from early December.

Employees of firms that have been legally closed in the period before 1 November are eligible for the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme (CJRS), the Chancellor pointed out.

As the scheme is UK wide, the UK Government has said that it will work with the devolved administrations to ensure the scheme operates effectively across all four nations.

In addition

As well as the expansion of the JSS described above, the Government is increasing the cash grants to businesses in England shut in local lockdowns to support with fixed costs.

These grants will be linked to rateable values, with up to £3000 per month payable every two weeks, compared to the up to £1500 every three weeks which was available previously.

This could, the Treasury said, benefit hundreds of thousands of businesses, including restaurants, pubs, nightclubs and bowling alleys.