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Economic damage ‘limited’ by Covid support measures

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MEASURES introduced by the government have helped limit the economic damage of the Covid-19 crisis, the Deputy Chief Minister has said.

Senator Lyndon Farnham Picture: ROB CURRIE. (28894159)

The Business Tendency Survey – released earlier this week – indicated that 72% of firms in Jersey had suffered a fall in activity over the last three months, with half reporting that their income had slumped by a third or more.

During the crisis ministers launched a series of measures, including the co-funded payroll scheme under which the government paid 80% of staff wages for struggling firms, to help prop up the economy.

Economic Development Minister Lyndon Farnham said that further analysis of the survey showed the support programme had helped to prevent unemployment.

‘The aims of these measures were to support our economy and keep people in jobs,’ he said.

‘Most notable of these was the payroll co-funding scheme, which has, to date, paid out more than £50 million to protect livelihoods, and has helped to keep more than 15,000 people in employment.

‘The Business Tendency Survey shows that although 72% of firms experienced a reduction in activity, significantly fewer businesses (40%) reduced the number of their employees.’

He added: ‘Data on the use of these schemes, and other indicators such as the numbers of Islanders actively seeking work, suggest we have been successful in reducing the impact of the pandemic on the economy.’

The minister said that details of how the co-funded payroll scheme would operate beyond its current end date of 31 August would be released soon.

Chamber of Commerce chief executive Murray Norton has called for more clarity on the future of the scheme, pointing out that businesses need more detail to enable them to plan ahead

Ministers have repeatedly said that there would not be a ‘cliff-edge’ scenario where support was cut off suddenly for businesses.

Ian Heath

By Ian Heath
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