The government has announced that it will pay employees who cannot work 67% of their salaries, up to £2,100 a month for local lockdown areas which will require business closures.

Responding to the announcement, The Money Advice Trust has welcomed the Chancellor’s expansion of the Job Support Scheme to support businesses forced to shut because of Coronavirus restrictions.

Joanna Elson OBE, chief executive of the Money Advice Trust, said “The Chancellor’s expansion of the Job Support Scheme for businesses forced to shut because of Coronavirus restrictions is a welcome intervention – and another sign that the economic impact of this outbreak will be with us for some time.”

“Continued financial support will also be needed for those who lose their job as a result of the outbreak. The longer this situation continues, the more urgent the need to give certainty to people in need of help now and in the coming months. The Government should commit now to extending its changes to Universal Credit – including retaining the extra £20 a week increase beyond April, and continuing to give fairer access to support for self-employed people.”

Meanwhile, TUC General Secretary Frances O’Grady said “This scheme will protect jobs in businesses forced to close by local restrictions. But ministers still need to do more to stop the devastation of mass unemployment.”

“Firms which aren’t required to close but will still be hit by stricter local restrictions need a more generous short-time working scheme. And there needs to be extra help for self-employed people in local lockdown areas too.”

“Nationally, industries like the arts, hospitality, retail and aviation face a long, tough winter. These sectors need targeted help. And we need proper investment to create good new jobs in the green tech of the future.”

Separately UKHospitality Chief Executive Kate Nicholls said “The impact of all of these restrictions is huge and we are quickly reaching the point of no return for many businesses.”

“For those businesses in tier 3 areas, forced to close their doors again, things look bleak but the support announced last week for closed businesses will hopefully give them the breathing room they need to survive another lockdown.”

“There is currently a concerning lack of support on offer for hospitality businesses in tier 2, and to a lesser extent tier 1, despite their facing restrictions that is seeing trade down by between 40% to 60%. They will have the worst of both worlds, operating under significant restrictions without the financial support on offer to tier 3 businesses. Without enhanced grant support and enhanced Government contributions to the Job Support Scheme, many are going to fall by the wayside.”

“It is time for the Government, at the very least, to rethink the mandatory 10pm curfew on those areas where COVID rates are low. It was imposed without credible evidence that hospitality is the source of increases in transmission, while some evidence points the other way. To leave hospitality out to dry would be a grave and risky move and would cost many people their jobs.”