Andrew Gwynne, MP for Denton and Reddish, has welcomed the announcement of a new financial package for businesses and employees in areas under lockdown.
Chancellor of the Exchequer, Rishi Sunak, announced major changes to the Job Support Scheme in what many have described as a u-turn.
In the Chancellor’s ‘Winter Economic Plan’, employers would have to pay 55% of wages for a third of hours worked. This has now changed to a minimum of 20% of usual hours worked and 5% of hours not worked. The Government will now pay up to 62% of wages for hours not worked.
The funding is available across the UK, but is seen as particularly targeting businesses in Tier 2 areas, who saw their ability to operate suffer, whilst lacking the support given to Tier 3 businesses.
The Chancellor announced that areas that had previously been in Tier 2-style measures – such as Greater Manchester – would receive funding retrospectively. This was a key demand from Andy Burnham when negotiating Greater Manchester’s move to Tier 3.
The announcement was made in the House of Commons today and Gwynne asked the Chancellor how soon the funds would be released and how much he had calculated would go to businesses in Greater Manchester. Both will be announced soon.
Andrew Gwynne said:
“I welcome that the Government has finally woken up to the need to provide more support to businesses and workers in areas with local restrictions. Many businesses are on the brink and I hope that this will ensure that jobs and livelihoods are saved.
“However, it shouldn’t have taken until London was placed in Tier 2 for this support package to be introduced. In Greater Manchester, we had twelve weeks in the equivalent of Tier 2 measures with no support and the Government made no mention of these plans in talks with our Mayor Andy Burnham, despite this being a key ask of our city region’s leaders.
“It is essential now that the Government works fast to get money to the businesses in need. Many cannot afford a delay.”