Charity calls for payroll help to run until March

THE government’s Co-Funded Payroll Scheme should be extended over the winter, a charity leader has said.

Malcolm Ferey. Picture: JON GUEGAN. (31864930)
Malcolm Ferey. Picture: JON GUEGAN. (31864930)

Malcolm Ferey, who is chief executive at Headway Jersey and has worked in the sector for over a decade, said that his organisation ‘relied heavily’ on the scheme – which provides financial support for staff costs.

In a submission to the Public Accounts Committee, which is reviewing the government’s handling of the pandemic, Mr Ferey said: ‘When I was seconded to government to work on the Community Task Force, the initial thoughts were that charities should not be considered for assistance through the Co-Funded Payroll Scheme.’

He added: ‘This decision was quickly overturned as it became apparent that charities, like any other business, were very important to the local economy, the wellbeing of Jersey’s citizens, and a big part of the employment sector.

‘My initial thoughts were why are charities being held in such low esteem and I can only surmise that those making the decisions at the time considered that many charities were already directly supported by government.

‘While this may be true for some charities it is certainly not true for the majority and therefore I was delighted when the decision to include charities in the scheme was quickly incorporated.’

In its submission to the review Jersey Mencap said that charities initially not being considered for help was ‘difficult to swallow’.

Mr Ferey said he believed it was necessary to give businesses, the self-employed and charities ‘surety and confidence over this winter’ by continuing the scheme, but not on a ‘piecemeal monthly basis’.

Instead, he called for a ‘longer-term view, perhaps increasing it to at least March of 2022 so that businesses could continue to have that fiscal stimulus over what may well turn out to be a very difficult winter for many’.

The government announced a short extension to the scheme earlier this month, which will now run until the end of October.

The reduced version of the scheme, with a maximum subsidy of 50% rather than 90%, was labelled disappointing by the Chamber of Commerce.

The announcement followed widespread uncertainty over the fund’s future, with many businesses criticising the government over poor communication on the issue.

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