By Grahame Anderson

The Chancellor has announced a number of key extensions to those Government schemes introduced during the Covid crisis to help the UK workforce.

This includes both their job retention and self employment income support schemes – the latter delivering a second and final grant in August for those who qualify. As for the Furlough scheme, it has already covered the wages of 8.4 million staff in the UK unable to work during lockdown at a cost of £15 billion.

Lifeline

The chancellor described the two UK-wide schemes as “a lifeline for millions of people and businesses.”

Mr Sunak said: “We stood behind Britain’s businesses and workers as we came into this crisis and we stand behind them as we come through the other side.

“Now, as we begin to re-open our country and kick-start our economy, these schemes will adjust to ensure those who are able to work can do so, while remaining amongst the most generous in the world.”

June – July

He went on to tell employers they will be able to recall furloughed workers back full time from 1 July. In both June and July The Government will continue to pay 80 per cent of wages, capped at £2,500. This also includes employer National Insurance and pension contributions.

August

Employers wont need to be responsible for National Insurance contributions and their employee’s pensions, until August.

September

September meanwhile, will see the Government’s contribution to wages decrease to 70 per cent for salaries capped at £2,190. The treasury expects employers to pay the remaining 10 per cent – raising the cap to £2,500 – this means employees will still take home 80 per cent of their wages.

October

In October the Government will further decrease contributions down to 60 per cent of wages up to a limit of £1,875. Employers be expected to raise their own contributions by another 10 per cent. As a result, take home pay for employees will still remain at 80 per cent, covering the time they are unable to work.

The extension of self Employment Support means workers will receive 70 per cent of the average monthly trading profits from their business – paid out in a single instalment covering three months’ worth of profits. This final grant will capped at £6,570.

Labour warning

In response Anneliese Dodds MP, Labour’s Shadow Chancellor said: ORKGORCEIt is welcome that the government has heeded Labour’s calls for a more gradual introduction of the employer contribution to furlough, the introduction of flexibility within furlough to allow part-time working, and the extension of the self-employed scheme.

However, it is concerning that there is no commitment within these plans for support to only be scaled back in step with the removal of lockdown. Nor is there any analysis of the impact on unemployment of a ‘one size fits all’ approach being adopted across all sectors.

The Chancellor must publish the evidence behind these decisions to provide reassurance that his proposals won’t cause an additional spike in unemployment, and an even more difficult economic recovery from this crisis.”