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'Biggest economic support package in Jersey's history' announced to help firms through coronavirus outbreak

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A FURTHER £100 million support package was announced for Jersey businesses last night, with the government pledging to pay 80% of wages for the firms which have been worst hit by the coronavirus outbreak.

Senator Lyndon Farnham

In the latest slice of emergency support, the government has announced the ‘biggest economic support package’ in Jersey’s history, which will ‘make substantial use’ of the Island’s Strategic Reserve, also known as the rainy day fund.

Shortly before the measures were announced at a press conference late yesterday, the Chamber of Commerce lashed out at the government, claiming that it was failing to provide support for businesses quickly enough.

The payroll support measures are due to take effect from 1 April.

At the press conference Economic Development Minister Lyndon Farnham announced the extended package.

‘The measures we are announcing today are absolutely critical for protecting Islanders by ensuring that they stay employed and able to support themselves and their families,’ said Senator Farnham.

‘We need to rally together not only to protect vulnerable Islanders but to ensure that we protect our economic infrastructure so that we are ready to bounce back as quickly as possible when the crisis subsides.

‘The government has been working as fast as it can to give our most vulnerable businesses and employees financial security that they need to keep operating during the crisis.’

The revised payroll co-funding scheme, updating measures announced last week, will see the government pay 80% of staff wages for firms up to a maximum of £1,600 per month, with effect from 1 April.

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Businesses who want to apply for support are being urged to contact Jersey Business.

Senator Farnham said that the extended scheme would provide support for up to 27,000 residents, which is half the Island’s workforce.

The government has already announced £180 million of business support measures including a £50 million scheme to guarantee bank loans for firms, as well as £50 million of support for organisations that provide services that are essential or for the pubic good.

Chamber of Commerce chief executive Murray Norton said that the enhanced measures were ‘welcome’ but added that support was still coming too slowly.

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‘Getting up to £1,600 per month will assist greatly. As Senator Farnham has said himself, it has been too slow for his liking, but we must recognise this a significant amount of support for businesses,’ he said.

‘We were keen that the amount should reflect the living wage based on 35 hours, and the government has done that, for which we have received calls already thanking government and us.

‘The key for businesses will be the speed of getting cash support. The new support of funding of up to £1,600 to an estimated 27,000 people will not arrive to employers until the first week in May, but now it does finally mean businesses can do accurate forecasting, knowing what they are being supported on and when.

‘For some the difficulties of the time between now and the first week of May will be the greatest.’

THESE ARE THE SECTORS WHICH ARE NOT ELIGIBLE FOR THE PAYROLL SCHEME

Local Agricultural activities and wholesalers

Supermarkets, pharmacies, grocery stores and fuel retailers

Financial, legal, accounting, management and professional services

Food and beverage producers

Information and communication activities

Postal and courier activities

Property Development

Consultancy services

Advertising and market research

Veterinary activities

Employment agencies and HR services

Primary and secondary education (not including nurseries)

Medical and dental care activities (that are not shut down)

Social care and residential care activities

Freight, Water and Air Transport

Office administration and support

Wholesale of agricultural goods

Security services

Utility Companies government owned entities, or any organisation that is in receipt of a grant or subsidies of over £50k from the GoJ (can be included on exception)

Ian Heath

By Ian Heath
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