- Huw Hughes |
UK employers will receive a one-off bonus of 1,000 pounds for each furloughed employee that returns to work, the government has announced.
It's part of a wider 30 billion pound package unveiled Wednesday by chancellor Rishi Sunak to support jobs and boost the economy after months of lockdown.
The Jobs Retention Bonus can be accessed by employers if the worker is still employed as of 31 January 2021 and is paid on average at least 520 pounds per month - the equivalent of the lower earnings limit in National Insurance.
Sunak said the scheme would cost 9 billion pounds if all furloughed staff returned to work.
A new 2 billion pound Kickstart Scheme was also announced that will pay employers to create new jobs for any 16 to 24-year-old at risk of long-term unemployment. The scheme will cover the costs of a minimum of 25 hours per week paid at the National Minimum Wage for six months. So for a 24-year-old, the grant will be around 6,500 pounds.
‘Disappointing’ no VAT cuts announced for retail sector
Helen Dickinson, CEO of the British Retail Consortium, welcomed the government’s support for employment and training in the UK. “Any interventions that aim to protect jobs and incomes are vital to households around the country. Time will tell if such measures can also bolster consumer demand, which remains well below pre-crisis levels, and the Chancellor must be ready to take further actions if necessary,” she said.
Other measures announced by Sunak included a scheme to pay businesses to hire apprentices and VAT cuts on food, accommodation and attractions. Those measures were welcomed by Dickinson, but she said it was “disappointing” that similar measures hadn’t been announced for the retail sector. “The Chancellor’s proposals of a VAT cut will be important in reviving these sectors, and the 1.8 million people who work there,” she said.
“However, it was disappointing that the Chancellor did not extend this measure to the retail industry and the three million people it employs. It was a missed opportunity and we hope that the government will reconsider this ahead of the Autumn Budget.”
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