Businesses across Worcester affected by the Coronavirus crisis will be able to claim up to £2,500 a month towards staff wages as part of the Government’s Job Retention Scheme, which went live yesterday.

Worcester MP Robin Walker has welcomed the news that employers can apply for direct cash grants through HMRC’s new online portal – with the money expected to land in their bank accounts within six working days.

The job retention scheme, announced by Chancellor Rishi Sunak as part of a package of support to protect jobs and businesses, allows employers to claim for a cash grant of up to 80% of a furloughed employees wages, capped at £2,500 a month.

Last week the Chancellor announced the scheme will be extended for a further month until the end of June, to reflect continuing Covid-19 lockdown measures.

Millions of people across the UK are expected to benefit from the scheme, with businesses including Pret a Manger, Brewdog and Timpsons using it to ensure staff keep their jobs and are paid whilst many high street businesses are closed. HMRC’s portal has a step by step application process and up to 5,000 staff will be manning phone lines and webchat services to ensure any questions can be answered.

Commenting on the scheme, Robin said:

“This is welcome news for business across Worcester in what are unprecedented times and I would advise those which are struggling to apply for the funding.”

“I have been taking up individual cases for constituents, however it is a great effort from the government to get this ground-breaking scheme to protect jobs up and running in such a short space of time.”

“This will help protect livelihoods and I would urge everyone across my constituency to follow government guidelines to stay at home, to protect our NHS and save lives and if people do need help or advice please do not hesitate to contact myself and my team.”

Chancellor of the Exchequer, Rishi Sunak said:

“Our unprecedented job retention scheme will protect millions of jobs across the country and is now up and running.”

“It’s vital that our economy gets up and running again as soon as it’s safe – and this scheme will allow that to happen.”

Commenting on news that applications are now open for the government’s Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme, Adam Marshall, BCC Director General, said:

“The opening of the Job Retention scheme is an important milestone for businesses, who can now begin to access the cash they need to pay their staff and protect livelihoods.”

“The government deserves credit for the speed, scale and flexibility of its response to the challenges facing our business communities. The focus should now be on delivering this support to firms on the ground.”

ENDS

Notes to Editors

  • Employers can furlough anyone they employ, provided that on or before March 19 they were on PAYE payroll and HMRC has been notified of payment via the RTI system. · More information about government support for businesses can be found:

https://www.gov.uk/government/collections/financial-support-for-businesses-during-coronavirus-covid-19

  • The link to the online portal can be found here:

https://www.access.service.gov.uk/login/signin/creds