Like those all across the country, many in our community were glued to their screens yesterday lunchtime as the Chancellor set out the support the Government will offer for employees and businesses as the country faces a predicted second wave of coronavirus.
At Work Avenue – the Jewish community’s leading employment and business support organisation – we’ve been supporting many of those who have lost their jobs or been made redundant during this pandemic.
Over the last six months, through our one-to-one support, courses, workshops and webinars, we’ve helped more than 1,500 people to learn skills, improve their CVs and find new jobs, as well as assisting those looking to start, grow or adapt a business. We have even helped place 72 people into new jobs during this difficult time.
Our service is free, supported by generous donors, as are others which are helping people with everything from their bills to their mental health during this time.
It’s one of the things I love about our Jewish community – how we support each other in good times and especially through bad.
Turning to what the Chancellor announced, and the flagship policy is the new job support scheme, due to begin in November after the current furlough scheme ends.
It will allow those with viable jobs to keep them, working at least a third of their hours and receiving 77% of their pay with Government support.
While this support is lower than previously – the Government will pay a maximum of 22% of someone’s wages from November, down from 60% at the end of furlough – the move will no doubt save hundreds of jobs that were previously thought to be at risk.
We all understand that the furlough scheme could not be extended indefinitely. Whilst furlough paid people not to work, this job support scheme will help viable businesses that are struggling to pay their employees full time.
In parallel, the existing Government support for the self-employed will be extended on similar terms to the job support scheme and those who face an income tax debt of up to £30,000 will be able to arrange a payment plan to ease the burden up until January 2022.
The Chancellor also announced extensions and more favourable terms being introduced for loans that businesses may have taken out as a result of loss of business due to the pandemic.
Taken together, these measures are positive. They show that the Government is supporting companies to encourage their employees to work and to hopefully build up to full-time hours and pay as the market improves. It is heartening for those with jobs in sectors which hope to survive the effects of the pandemic.
However there will be many, including in our community, now facing redundancy.
Workers in sectors that are unlikely to recover – for whom furlough was prolonging their employment – will almost certainly lose their jobs.
The only real support the Government has offered to these sectors is an extension to the temporary reduction of VAT from 20% to 5% until the end of March 2021.
Whilst this is a nod to these struggling parts of our economy, it is unlikely that they will be able to survive with the increase of restrictions that were announced earlier this week.
It’s going to be a hard time for many, but together as a community we can get through it.
People working in these sectors will need support as they look at the transferable skills and their experience to see how they can find work within viable sectors and companies.
Work Avenue is here to help. Like all organisations during this pandemic, we have adapted the way we work to meet the needs of our clients.
Our services and one-to-one advice are now remote, taking place via Zoom or on the phone, and we’ve developed and delivered a range of webinars and workshops designed to help those in exactly this position. We are now helping people further afield, all across the UK as well as internationally and virtually all of our services are free of charge.
So if you’d like support – whether it’s planning and applying for your next job or working out how to adapt your business to the new normal – please do get in touch by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org or by visiting www.theworkavenue.org.uk