Caller affected "horrifically" by Rishi Sunak's new job scheme

24 September 2020, 19:31

By Fiona Jones

This caller told Eddie Mair why he has been affected "horrifically" by the Chancellor's new Job Support Scheme which was announced today.

Chancellor Rishi Sunak has set out the details of his winter economic plan in a Downing Street press conference, most notably the Job Support Scheme which will replace furlough from 31 October.

This scheme will "support only viable jobs" and not jobs that continue to exist because the Government is subsidising the wages - this has been clarified as jobs where staff can work at least 33 per cent of their normal hours.

However, the Government's contribution to workers' pay will fall sharply to 22% under the new scheme. For the hours employees can't work, the government and the employer will each cover one third of the lost pay.

Read more: Chancellor Rishi Sunak's job support scheme - everything you need to know

Caller Craig, an actor, agent and drama school owner, told Eddie the scheme affects him "horrifically".

He said: "This has totally destroyed everything for me in a way...acting at the moment seems pretty nonexistent therefore I'm affected, so are my clients within my agency, and my school is unable to open because of the restrictions at the moment of Covid.

"It's diabolical."

Craig "hated" calling the Government's financial assistance "help" because "it hasn't helped me at all."

"It assisted me for maybe a month out of however long it was supposed to and mentally, I think I speak on behalf of a lot of my colleagues in the arts, it's just horrendous. It's really difficult.

"Everyday I'm speaking to people who are having their future work cancelled right through to April/May next year. One day you think you're going to be earning 10, 15 grand and then in one email you're not. It's incredibly difficult."

Eddie asked what he thought about the Chancellor saying he could not save every job.

Read more: Eddie Mair challenges Treasury Select Committee Chair on Sunak's new job scheme

Craig responded, "I appreciate it's a difficult thing...but we need help. The arts needs help. Theatre in the West End contributes hugely to the economy, I can't even begin to comprehend how many businesses around the theatres are suffering if not destroyed at the moment."

Areas with regional theatres may be unable to recover from their closures, such as his area of North Wales, he told Eddie.

Craig had "hoped and hoped and hoped" today's announcement by the Chancellor would bring good news after having to adapt and do a different job.

He felt compelled to phone up LBC, he said, "There needs to be more support for the arts."