Rishi Sunak unveils new support package for businesses in Tier 2 areas

22 October 2020, 12:04 | Updated: 22 October 2020, 12:13

Rishi Sunak unveiled the measures in the Commons today
Rishi Sunak unveiled the measures in the Commons today. Picture: PA

By Asher McShane

The Chancellor has announced a package of measures to help businesses in Tier 2 regions weather the storm of the coronavirus crisis.

In a statement to the House of Commons, Mr Sunak announced that the coronavirus Job Support Scheme will be made more generous, with employer contributions reduced and the minimum hours requirement also cut.

He also announced grants for businesses in Tier 2 areas of up to £2,100 per month they are in the category, that can be backdated to August.

Mr Sunak said there will be difficult days and weeks ahead. He told the Commons: "Let me speak first to the people of Liverpool, Lancashire, South Yorkshire and Greater Manchester and indeed other areas moving into or already living under heightened health restrictions.

"I understand your frustration, people need to know this is not forever. These are temporary restrictions to help control the spread of the virus.

"There are difficult days and weeks ahead, but we will get through this together. People are not on their own. We have an economic plan that will protect the jobs and livelihoods of the British people wherever they live and whatever their situation."

"Just as we have throughout this crisis, we will listen and respond to people's concerns as the situation demands.

"And I make no apology for responding to changing circumstances and so today we go further."

He added: "The evidence is clear - a regional, tiered approach is the right way to control the spread of the virus."

He said businesses in Tier 2 areas will receive further financial support in the form of a new grant scheme, the government will cover more of the cost of staff on reduced hours, with a 5 per cent contribution required from employers.

The minimum hours requirement, will be reduced from 33 per cent of normal hours to one day per week.

Help for the self-employed is being increased with grants raised from 20 per cent to 40 per cent of average profits until April.

This story is being updated