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Call For Extended Financial Support Schemes

The Chamber of Commerce has called on the government to extend financial help to businesses still affected by Covid-19 cases and restrictions.

Several businesses have had to close because of the number of staff testing positive in recent weeks.

Nightclubs are not likely to reopen and stand-up drinking is not due to be allowed again until at least August because of rising case rates.

The business support schemes were extended until the end of August before the decision was made to delay the final lifting of restrictions for a fourth time.

  • Co-funded payroll scheme - until the end of August
  • Visitor Attraction and Events Scheme - until the end of August
  • Business Support Accommodation Scheme - until the end of August
  • Fixed Costs Support Scheme - until the end of August
  • Business Loan Guarantee Scheme - until the end of September.

Employees are also being advised to work from home again if possible, to stop the sharp rise in Covid-19 cases.

"We are working with Government to emphasise that the four-week delay will have a really detrimental effect on businesses in the hospitality and retail sectors. These have had the worst experiences of Covid and in many cases they are desperately trying to keep their businesses afloat, to provide a service to customers and cope with paying their staff. There will be precious little left of a summer season with a long winter ahead, so Government support, which has been so successful so far, should be extended in these cases. Otherwise, jobs and livelihoods will be at stake.

"Safety and health of our communities are obviously paramount, and we strongly support data-led decision making and an appropriate balance of risk. For businesses and the public to make informed decisions in relation to Government recommendations, we need greater insights into the efficacy of the vaccine programme. Is the programme working to keep people out of hospital? If so, what are the reasons for halting the progress we have all been working towards? If not how significant is this new threat? We would like to understand why the focus is not on the low hospitalisation numbers, rather than the expected higher positive case results?- Jennifer Carnegie, Chamber President.

The Chief Minister has vowed to continue helping businesses, but hasn't said whether financial support will be extended beyond the end of August.

Senator John Le Fondre says the co-funded payroll scheme will continue 'if the need is there'.

"Let's see what happens to the (case) numbers.

"We're the middle of July, so that (the end of August) is six weeks away. Let's see what those numbers look like over the next two or three weeks and then assess." 

£21.7 million was paid out to Jersey businesses and the self-employed between September and December 2020.

That compares to the £81 million that was distributed between March and August 2020.

£9.5 million of the £21.7 million went to the hospitality sector.

"This data shows that while claims on the Co-Funded Payroll Scheme fell considerably during the final fourth months of 2020, there was still a vital need to support those sectors which continued to be most affected by the pandemic.

"However, claims were at a lower level during this period, even in the sectors most affected by the Covid-19 restrictions, compared to earlier in the year, as businesses innovated to respond to the pandemic.

"We’ve continued to review and extend the scheme during 2021 and it will be available until the end of August for those businesses which are eligible to claim under the Visitor Attractions and Events Scheme, the Visitor Accommodation Support Scheme, and the Fixed Cost Subsidy Scheme." - Deputy Susie Pinel, Treasury Minister.

£7.6million was paid out in December 2020, when coronavirus cases rocketed to more than 1,000.

The government says around 5,000 jobs were supported each month between September and December 2020.

"The Co-Funded Payroll Scheme has been and continues to be the central pillar in the support we’re providing to business as part of our strategy to protect livelihoods over the last 16 months.

"The data shows that claims rose in December, as more support was needed when the Winter Circuit Breaker was introduced, and new businesses were also able to take part in the scheme." - Senator Lyndon Farnham, Economic Development Minister.

More than £3.3million has been repaid by 331 companies so far.

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