Job Support Scheme is critical lifeline as small firms struggle through new restrictions

With the Job Retention Scheme set to end on the 31 October, its successor the Job Support Scheme will come into action on the 1 November. Commenting on this change, Federation of Small Businesses (FSB) National Chair Mike Cherry said: 

“The furlough scheme has been a resounding success since March, and has inevitably saved hundreds of thousands of jobs from being lost. The Government intervened, and rightly so, along with a series of comprehensive measures to safeguard jobs, businesses and the wider economy. But as the second wave of the virus intensifies, the hard work to continue this job doesn’t end here.

“The new Job Support Scheme will be yet another vital lifeline to saving jobs and keeping businesses afloat, many of which remain hopeful for some relief in the run up to Christmas. But with new restrictions being imposed in every part of the country, many of which are set to get tighter in the weeks to come, small businesses face huge difficulties over the winter months ahead.

“This is proven in our latest Small Business Index which found that that 30 per cent of employers expect to make some staff redundant in the next three months. That is the scale of concern and uncertainty that small firms are faced with for their businesses, with many letting staff go for the very first time.

“Small firms are often similar to family units, so this is a huge wrench – often the last step a small business owner will take in order for the business to survive.  If we see tougher restrictions, we are asking the Government to dial up the Job Support Scheme even further to provide more support for the small businesses that are not legally required to close but are facing a collapse in consumer demand.

“And despite this assistance, there remains little support for the newly self-employed and company directors, and it is critical that the Government addresses these shortcomings urgently in the months to come. These have had a torrid seven months, especially those in sectors that could not operate properly like events, culture, the arts and tourism. They must be kept going so they can help with a spring recovery.

“A million people are expected to enter unemployment rolls over the coming weeks and months, and therefore the onus is on Government to offer new and innovative ways to help uplift people into new jobs.

“It’s important that we make it more affordable to employ people by reducing the ‘jobs tax’, Employer’s National Insurance. The Government’s business rate review must address and reduce the upfront costs of this regressive tax, which threatens business survival altogether.

“In addition to this we need to see help for those who have lost their jobs and looking to start anew. The Chancellor could consider a “Kickstart Start-up” scheme, enhancing the current offer of Start-up loans and New Enterprise Allowance to drive up numbers of these new businesses.

“Small businesses are the backbone of our economy and we must be doing all we can to ensure they have the support they need to make it through the next few months.”

 About FSB

The Federation of Small Businesses (FSB’s) mission is to help smaller businesses achieve their ambitions. As well as being the UK’s leading business campaigning organisation, FSB also offers its members a wide range of vital business services, including a 24/7 legal advice line, access to finance, cyber protection, events and a powerful voice heard in governments.