NPA welcomes Chancellor’s latest support package for businesses

The NPA has welcomed Chancellor Rishi Sunak’s announcement that the Government will cover 80% of the wages of staff unable to work due to coronavirus.

On Friday, Mr Sunak announced the new Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme, which will be open to any employer in the country, regardless of size.

Employers will be able to contact HMRC for a grant to cover most of the wages of people who are not working but are kept on the payroll, rather than being laid off.

Grants will cover 80% of the salary of retained workers up to a total of £2,500 a month, with employers being encouraged to top up the salaries.

“That means workers in any part of the UK can retain their job, even if their employer cannot afford to pay them, and be paid at least 80% of their salary,” Mr Sunak said.

The scheme will cover the cost of wages backdated to March 1 and will be open initially for at least three months. It will be extended, if necessary. No limit is being placed on the amount of funding available for the scheme. “We will pay grants to support as many jobs as necessary,” Mr Sunak said.

NPA senior policy adviser Ed Barker welcomed the announcement. “This unprecedented step will protect employees across the pork supply chain and enable businesses to retain staff that cannot work during this crisis.

“Importantly, it also means that workers who suspect they might be infected will be more likely stay at home, rather than feeling they have to come into work, a move that could put other people at risk.”

While the measures have been welcomed, there is concern, however, that, so far, they do not offer much-needed support for the self-employed.

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Editor of LBM titles Pig World and Farm Business and group editor of Agronomist and Arable Farmer. National Pig Association's webmaster. Previously political editor at Farmers Guardian for many years and also worked Farmers Weekly. Occasional farming media pundit. Brought up on a Leicestershire farm, now work from a shed in the garden in Oxfordshire. Big fan of Leicester City and Leicester Tigers. Occasional cricketer.