What is a 'viable job'? These are the industries that could miss out on the new Job Support Scheme

Friday, 25th September 2020, 12:15 pm
Updated Friday, 25th September 2020, 12:15 pm
Millions of workers fear the new support package will not be enough to help them through the winter (Photo: John Sibley-WPA Pool/Getty Images)
Millions of workers fear the new support package will not be enough to help them through the winter (Photo: John Sibley-WPA Pool/Getty Images)

Chancellor Rishi Sunak has outlined his Winter Economy Plan to save so-called "viable" jobs - but some industries are likely to miss out.

In an address to Parliament on Thursday 24 September, the Chancellor announced a set of measures designed to limit job losses and bolster the UK economy as the country heads into a difficult winter.

Sign up to our public interest bulletins - get the latest news on the Coronavirus

Sign up to our public interest bulletins - get the latest news on the Coronavirus

The headline measure announced for job retention was the new Job Support Scheme (JSS), which will see the government topping up wages for employees who work at least a third of their usual hours.

For the self-employed, a further two support grants were announced, the first of which covers 20 per cent of a self-employed person's  average monthly profits from November to January next year, up to a total of £1,875.

From February 2021 to the end of April, a second grant will be available to self-employed workers. It has not yet been announced how much this second grant will cover.

The JSS Scheme was announced as a measure to protect "viable" jobs, but the Chancellor admitted that not all jobs could be saved.

In a Downing Street press conference, he also said that he could not "make pronouncements upon exactly what job is viable or not."

As a result, many industries and workers fear that this latest package of support spells difficulty ahead.

Hospitality

In combination with new curfews and existing restrictions on large groups, many in the hospitality industry fear the latest support does not go far enough.

While the British Beer and Pub Association said that parts of the plan were welcome, it does not believe enough support has been given to save thousands of at-risk jobs.

The group’s chief executive, Emma McClarkin, said in a statement, "With a lower level of funding from government that will cost employers more, we are not confident it is enough to protect jobs in the current trading conditions."

Aviation

Members in the aviation industry have criticised the new measures for coming in too late, after thousands of job losses have occurred in the sector.

Transport Salaried Staffs Association (TSSA) leader Manuel Cortes said, "Better late than never but the Government’s indecision has already seen jobs lost in droves and caused huge needless anxiety among millions of workers.

"The Chancellor said they will target support at 'firms who need it the most'. That must be fine-tuned so that the jobs of our members in the travel trade are saved and high-street travel shops don’t become a thing of the past. We will all need a holiday once the pandemic has passed."

Performing arts

Musicians, actors and other performers have criticised the support package for failing to consider the needs of the creative industries, with many theatres and venues still unable to reopen and bring staff back in.

Head of entertainment and media union Bectu Philippa Childs said the Treasury had "overlooked" the needs of the creative industries.

She added, "The Job Support Scheme may help some employers, but it will not help to save theatres that are still not able to open due to government restrictions and are already making thousands of workers redundant.

"The army of freelancers and self-employed who make up the backbone of the UK creative industries face being excluded from support once again."

Self-employed workers

While Rishi Sunak did announce an extension of support for self-employed workers, many people in this bracket were dismayed that the level of support will be reduced from the government covering 80 per cent of average monthly profits to just 20 per cent after the current scheme ends in February 2021.

In addition to this, it's estimated that over a million self-employed workers will miss out on financial help entirely, with workers ineligible for the last self-employed grant also ineligible for the next two support grants.

The original Self Employed Income Support Scheme,(SEISS) covering 80 per cent of average monthly profits, was only available to sole traders who filed tax returns in the financial year ending in April 2019. This means that limited company freelancers and the newly self-employed were excluded from any support first time around.

The new grants work on the same terms, meaning that over a million self-employed workers will once again be excluded from financial support.