After Rishi Sunak unveiled the latest Covid-19 financial support news we look at the parts that are specific for hospitality and try to turn it into the English language.
So, here are the highlights from the announcement. As always with these updates there will be lots of the finer details that will be released in due course and undoubtably loads of questions but here we go:
Furlough is, as expected, still ending at the end of October
Furlough is going to be replaced by a new ‘Job Support Scheme’ which will see the government helping top up employees wages with the help of the employer. It goes like this:
The Job Support Scheme will run from November 1st for 6 months.
To be eligible the employee must work a minimum 33% of their normal hours (presumably based on previous 3 years or 6 months pay but this is tbc).
For whatever the remaining hours not working is the government will pay a third of the wages and the employer will pay a third.
So for example if you were working your 33% of hours the remaining 67% would be split in 3 and the gov and your employer would pay a third each giving you a total pay of 77% of your maximum income (in total your employer would pay 55% of that and the government 22%).
If you work more than 33% the maths stays the same but the percentages change.
Obviously, this relies on your employer being willing and able to pay you for hours you aren’t actually working.
No news on if TRONC will be included but I think we can safely assume absolutely no chance.
The self-employed scheme will change to be similar to the Job Support Scheme (details tbc).
New ‘Pay As You Grow Scheme’ for businesses who took out government backed loans when they were made available. This will mean loans can now be extended from 6 years to 10 years reducing the monthly repayments. These can also be changed to interest only payments or a 6 month deferral in payments if you are ‘in real trouble’. None of this will affect credit rating.
Coronavirus Business Interruption Loans will also be increased to 10 years.
A new loan scheme will be announced for January.
For any business that deferred their VAT payments until March next year when a lump sum would be due can now split it into 11 monthly payments with no interest charged.
The VAT decrease to 5% which was due to end in January for hospitality is now extended until end of March. Important to note this is still only for food and not alcohol sales.
A Deeper Look
So then on the surface of it this looks like a way to help businesses and the government get into more debit, but is it? We will wait to see when the finer details come out but yes, it is.
There is no new financial help for the hospitality industry other than delaying payments on loans that the government forced them to take by dragging their feet so long on getting the furlough system up and running.
The Job Support Scheme is forcing companies to pay staff for hours not worked if they want any government support, unlike the furlough scheme which gave employers and employees the opportunity to work out a plan between them. For many sectors this is actually not a bad idea, the hospitality industry however is constantly getting extra hardship measures with no extra help.
Also this is going to be way harder to apply for than the blanket furlough scheme, they have said all small and medium sized businesses will be eligible and larger companies will have to prove they have been adversely effected by Covid-19 but we saw how long it took the furlough scheme to get organised and that was way easier to manage than this version.
No mention of extending the rates break, no mention of any help for live venues, no mention of any help based on the % of hours hospitality venues lose with the new curfew, nothing but hot air and headline grabbing titles for things.
In short it was another ‘Fuck You Hospitality’ (you can have that headline grabbing title for free Rishi).