Businesses across Southport 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 has now gone live.
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 employee’s wages, capped at £2,500 a month.
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 easy to use 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.
Southport MP Damien Moore said: “This is welcome news for business across Southport in what are unprecedented times and I would urge those which are struggling to apply for the funding.
“I would also encourage everyone across my constituency to follow government guidelines to stay at home, to protect our NHS, to and save lives, and if people do need help or advice please do not hesitate to contact my office.”
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.”
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.
Adam Marshall, BCC Director General, said: “Our research indicates that two-thirds of firms have furloughed some portion of their workforce.
“With April’s payday approaching, it is essential that the application process is smooth and that payments are made as soon as possible. Any delay would exacerbate the cash crisis many companies are facing and could threaten jobs and businesses.”