Covid business support scheme is extended

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MORE businesses will become eligible to receive government financial support if their profits have fallen during the latest wave of Covid-19 infections, ministers have announced.

Earlier this week Chamber of Commerce chief executive Murray Norton and hairdresser Brett Brimble-Byrne raised concerns that decreased footfall in town and social distancing were harming many businesses not eligible for government aid.

Measures were announced late last year to help struggling firms from certain sectors – including hotels, event organisers and other hospitality businesses – through December and January .

This included the reinstatement of the Co-Funded Payroll Scheme to provide wage subsidies for organisations which had suffered a 20% drop in their profits compared to two years ago.

Eligibility for the scheme has now been extended to include restaurants, bars, coffee and sandwich shops, taxis, cinemas, arts businesses and sole traders in all qualifying sectors. Industries such as retail and hairdressing, and other close-contact services, have not yet been added because the Council of Ministers would like to see further information on the impact that public health measures are having on them.

Treasury Minister Susie Pinel said: ‘When the scheme came to an end late last year, we gave a commitment that we would review it if public health measures meant that businesses required additional support.

‘We have listened to the representations and have agreed that expanding the scheme to include these additional sectors is supportive.’

Economic Development Minister Lyndon Farnham added: ‘By extending payroll support eligibility, we are helping to protect businesses and jobs in the sectors which continue to be most severely affected by Covid-19.’

Businesses will be able to claim up to £1,250 per employee if their income for December 2021 fell by more than 20% compared to two years earlier. In February, businesses will be able to submit similar claims for January.

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