States extends help for firms struggling to cope with Covid
POLICY & RESOURCES has agreed that the payroll co-funding scheme will continue until the end of the year for those sectors it believes are hardest hit by the current travel restrictions.
Retail and hospitality will, however, lose Covid-19 support payments from the end of the summer.
There will be another reduction in those being supported once the island moves to the next phase of restrictions, which is expected to be within the three-month extension to States help.
‘Since moving into phase 5 and our Bailiwick bubble we have seen many businesses returning to a more secure level of activity, and consequently less have needed our help,’ said P&R vice president Lyndon Trott.
‘But there remain sectors who very much need our continued support and the Policy & Resources Committee has decided to continue with the more targeted approach we have taken in recent months, particularly those businesses impacted by the continued restrictions on travel.
‘We are of course keen to ensure that businesses continue to do everything possible to get back onto their feet as quickly as possible. Government-funded support cannot be provided long term so businesses must adapt to the new conditions – as I know many have or are doing – rather than assume financial support from the States will continue. This includes examining all avenues available to them, such as borrowing, to ensure the well-being of their business going forward.’
Businesses within the following sectors, which are more reliant on travel activity, are thought most likely to require support over this current 5b phase:
- Travel agents and tour operators
- Event companies such as those working in corporate events or weddings
- Taxi operators
- Sectors and businesses reliant on regular outbound travel
A separate scheme is being drawn up for the visitor accommodation sector.
Retail and hospitality sectors, excluding visitor accommodation providers, will no longer be eligible to claim under the payroll co-sharing scheme during this further extension period because Q4 traditionally signals the end of the core tourist season and therefore businesses in those sectors will be returning to a more normal trading condition. P&R said it was, however, recognised that the absence of a positive summer period may bring financial strain over the coming months.
‘Businesses are encouraged to look to other sources to provide required financial support, such as bank borrowing,’ P&R said.
Once the island moves into phase 5c, there will be an increase in outbound and inbound travel activity. This will result in some sectors and businesses being removed from ongoing support, such as taxi operators and those businesses reliant on outbound travel. A one-month grace period where payments will still be made will apply from 5c’s introduction to allow business to build.
Eligible businesses can apply for either 80 or 100% of the minimum wage for employees.