Government to pay wages Chancellor announces

Published:  20 March, 2020

Garages that find themselves struggling because of the impact of the Coronavirus outbreak have the opportunity to seek major government support in paying staff wages.

At the daily Coronavirus Downing Street press conference this evening (Friday 20 March), Chancellor of the Exchequer announced radical plans to help businesses fund staff wages for the duration of the Covid 19 emergency.

He announced the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme, through which any business can access a grant to cover 80% of a worker’s salary, up to a maximum of £2,500 a month. This will be back-dated to 1 March, and is set to run for three months.

Announcing the Scheme, he said: "Today I can announce that for the first time in our history the government is going to step in and pay people's wages.

The Chancellor added: “We will provide grants to pay for as many jobs as necessary.”

The funding, available as loan, will be interest-free for 12 months, and will be accessible from Monday (23 March).

The Chancellor also announced that the next quarter’s VAT payment for businesses would be deferred to June, as well as support for the self-employed: “I’m strengthening the safety net for self-employed people too by suspending the minimum income floor for everyone affected by the economic impact of coronavirus.”

Commenting on the move,SMMT Chief Executive Mike Hawes said:  "The Chancellor’s unprecedented package of emergency funding and tax support will come as a huge relief to automotive companies of all shapes and sizes as they battle to safeguard their businesses and support thousands of workers and their families who otherwise face hardship. 99% of UK automotive output is now halted meaning thousands of businesses are counting their future, not in months or weeks, but in days. We need these measures implemented swiftly and will work closely with government and our members to keep this critical and fundamentally competitive sector alive.”

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