As of this week, businesses including pub operators and independents will have to pay 10% of furloughed workers’ wages, with taxpayers contributing 70% of it.
The Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme began in March and meant that employers could claim for payments covering 80% of furloughed employees wages up to a maximum of £2,500 per month.
From October when the scheme ends, employers will be expected to pay 20% of furlough wages at a cap of £1,875, with taxpayers covering 60%.
Many UK businesses and trade unions have demanded an extension of the furlough scheme, warning that a sudden end would result in thousands of workers becoming unemployed.
The Prime Minister Boris Johnson however said on Wednesday that the furlough scheme – created to retain jobs during the coronavirus pandemic -was now keeping people in “suspended animation”, and that the government wanted to “get Britain back to work.”
His aim instead is to convince workers and employers that it is now safe to return to their offices and places of work after months of forced shutdown, leading to many businesses in towns and cities being hit by a total lack in passing trade.
The latest official figures show as many as 9.6m jobs at 1.2m companies have been furloughed in total since the onset of the pandemic in March, at a cost of £33.8bn to the exchequer.
Eat Out to Help Out a big success
In other news, the Chancellor, Rishi Sunak, thanked Britons for eating out in August under the government’s Eat Out to Help Out scheme. Findings from OpenTable showed that bookings were up by 216% on the last day of the scheme compared to the same day in 2019.
By midnight on 31st August more than 100 million meals were eaten by diners, with the 84,700 establishments signed up to the scheme making 130,000 claims worth £522 million, meaning more jobs are being protected through people getting out and boosting the economy.
These numbers are likely to grow, with restaurants having until the end of September to claim back the 50% government-funded discount applied to bills.
Chancellor Rishi Sunak said: “From the get-go our mission has been to protect jobs, and to do this we needed to be creative, brave and try things that no government has ever done before.
“Today’s figures continue to show Eat Out to Help Out has been a success. I want to thank everyone, from restaurant owners to waiters, chefs and diners, for embracing it and helping drive our economic recovery.
“The scheme is just one part of our Plan for Jobs and we will continue to protect, support and create jobs to ensure we come back stronger as a nation.”