Over the past week, politicians and celebrities alike spoke out against U.K. Chancellor Rishi Sunak‘s comment that some workers must “retrain and find new jobs” on account of the COVID-19 crisis. In light of the controversy, he has shared plans to expand the government’s Winter Economy Plan.
“Where the coronavirus restrictions legally require business premises to close, in any region or nation of the U.K., we will help pay employees’ wages,” reads a statement by Sunak. “So, if your business does close their doors, and you cannot work at all for one week or more, your employer will pay you two thirds of your normal salary, up to £2,100 a month – and the UK government will cover the cost.”
Additionally, Sunak shared that businesses required to close due to COVID-19 restrictions will be eligible for monthly grants ranging from £1,300 to £3,000. Whereas the jobs support scheme will begin on November 1st, the grants will be available starting in early December.
Michael Kill of the Night Time Industries Association (NTIA), among others, has argued that the aid is too little, too late. “We believe that this has not gone far enough to safeguard our sector,” he said. “Considerable concerns remain over the future of the nighttime economy, with many businesses and staff concerned about how they will survive this autumn and winter.”
Meanwhile, the NTIA and Jeremy Joseph, the owner of Charing Cross nightclub G-A-Y, have threatened to take legal action against the U.K. government for failing to provide evidence that a recently imposed 10:00 PM curfew will help curb the spread of COVID-19.