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Covid-19: Government scheme to pay workers launched today

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AN unprecedented government scheme to pay part of the wages of thousands of Islanders during the coronavirus pandemic has been launched.

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From today, businesses covered by Phase 1 of the Government Co-Funded Payroll Scheme (CFPS) can now apply for funding at gov.je.

Money will be paid to firms within a matter of days to cover the period 20 to 31 March.

Phase 1 qualifying industries are:

*Hotels

*Restaurants

*Bars

*Wholesale and Retail (excluding retail food, wholesale or retail pharmacies, wholesale or retail fuel, wholesale or retail construction supplies/DIY supplies, retail sale of household electrical equipment and information and communication equipment, wholesale or retail medical supplies)

*Fisheries

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*Hairdressing and other beauty treatment.

Firms in these sectors can apply for £200 per week for a worker during the relevant 11-day period and has been paid either at least £320 per week or at least £1,390 per calendar month.

Workers earning lower weekly or monthly amounts will receive a sum which roughly equates to 60% of the relevant wage for the proportion of the month that was affected by the coronavirus restrictions.

The government is currently developing Phase 2 of the scheme, which will support a larger range of businesses and employees for at least the period of April to June. A full list of eligible and excluded business sectors is available at gov.je, and further details will be announced later in the month.

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Phase 2 will co-fund 80% of the wages of employees across a wide range of sectors, up to a maximum payment of £1,600 a month.

Assistant Treasury Minister Ian Gorst, who signed off the first phase of the scheme in a ministerial decision on Wednesday, said: 'I am very pleased to confirm that Phase 1 of the Government Co-Funded Payroll Scheme has been launched today for applications.

'When this scheme was announced only 12 days ago, [Economic Development Minister] Lyndon Farnham promised to ensure that we got financial support to businesses in greatest need as soon as possible.

'Today, this launch achieves that aim, and eligible businesses will get money within a matter of days of making an application.

'In order to carefully protect our public finances, in what will be a long road to economic recovery, the government is taking an approach of "economic triage" with our support schemes.'

He added: 'We have also published more detailed information today on business sectors which are included and excluded from Phase 2 of the scheme. That information should help businesses make difficult decisions and plan during this unprecedented time.

'We have requested that officials carry out further work to analyse the impact and the scope of the scheme, and we remain committed to keeping the scope and operation of the scheme under review, and we hear and understand the difficulties that all businesses are facing at this time.'

Richard Heath

By Richard Heath
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