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Government support shifts as Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme ends

The last day of the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme (CJRS) is tomorrow, marking the end of an unprecedented intervention where the Government paid up to 80% of any furloughed employees wages (up to a limit of $2,500 a month).

A third of UK workers, around 9.6 million people in the UK, benefitted from the scheme at one time of another, at a cost of around £40bn. The scheme was announced on the same day that the first raft of lockdown measures were announced, on 20 March, and was successful in both preventing job losses (though the unemployment rate is beginning to tick up, now at 4.5%), and in helping boost compliance with COVID-19 restrictions.

As CJRS comes to an end, and as we see renewed restrictions spread across the UK, it is important to be familiar with the shift in the support offered by the government via the Job Support Scheme (JSS). There are two strands of support specified in the scheme:

  • JSS Open: for businesses that are operating, but facing decreased demand.
  • JSS Closed: for businesses that are legally required to close their premises as a direct result of coronavirus restrictions.

JSS Open requires an employee work a minimum of 20% of their usual hours, with the employer to continue to pay them as normal for the hours worked. The employer will pay 5% of reference salary for the hours not worked, up to a maximum of £125 per month, with the discretion to pay more than this if they wish. The government will pay the remainder of 61.67%, of reference salary for the hours not worked, up to a maximum of £1,541.75 per month. The result is employees will continue to receive at least 73% of their normal wages, where they earn £3,125 a month or less.

JSS Closed will mean an employee unable to work due to COVID restrictions will receive around two thirds of their normal pay, paid by their employer and fully funded by the government, to a maximum of £2,083.33 per month, although their employer has discretion to pay more than this if they wish.

The Job Support Scheme will be open from 1 November 2020 and run for 6 months, until 30 April 2021. Construction supply chains do appear to have support across the UK’s four Governments to continue through the variance of lockdowns, as we detailed last week, and hopefully business can continue largely unheeded. However, it is best to be prepared. You can find out more about the scheme on Gov.UK.

While restrictions seem to have put a dampener on trick or treating this year, we wish a great Halloween weekend for all. 🎃

News round up for your week

TTF Brexit Guide: We have updated our Brexit Guide to help members prepare for the end of the transition period on 1 January 2021. Regardless of whether a deal is signed, the UK will see a fundamental shift in the relationship with our biggest trading partner. It is essential every business in the UK timber supply chain is prepared.

Furlough: how UK jobs market has fared during the pandemic: The government’s coronavirus job retention scheme closes on Saturday, ending the first phase of the UK’s economic response to the pandemic. However, almost 32 weeks later, employment data suggests businesses and workers around the country are still relying on government support.

CPA Weekly Notes: The Construction Leadership Council (CLC) has published advice and information on conformity marking of construction products after the expiration of the Transition Period with the EU on 31st December 2020. The CPA’s Outlook for the Housing Market Webinar from Wednesday, presented by CPA Senior Economist, Rebecca Larkin, is now available for CPA members to watch again.

Boost public spending to tackle Covid second wave, IMF tells UK: In its latest forecast for the UK economy, the IMF said it expected a decline in GDP growth of 10.4% this year, compared with an estimate a month ago of -9.8%. An expected rebound in GDP growth next year was pared back from 5.9% to 5.7%.

Two-thirds of contractors to increase MMC use post covid: Nearly two thirds of contractors (65%) plan to incorporate a greater percentage of modern methods of construction (MMC) into their projects as a result of the covid-19 pandemic, according to the autumn 2020 market report, Holding Steady, published by consultant Gleeds.

Former MEP Paul Brannen appointed to new role as Director of Public Affairs by European Woodworking Industries: CEI-Bois, which represents the European Woodworking Industries, and the European Organisation of the Sawmill Industry (EOS) created this role with the intention of boosting their advocacy activities towards the European Commission and the European Parliament.

CPA UK Economic and Construction update: Arcadis’s Autumn 2020 forecasts indicate that outside of infrastructure, it anticipates falling tender prices in both 2020 and 2021, driven by an uncertain new work pipeline, the timescales needed to mobilise public sector investment and weak risk appetite from the private sector. UK average house prices rose 0.8% month-on-month in October and were 5.8% higher than a year earlier, the fastest rate of annual growth since January 2015. Shares for major house builders continue to lag, following a 58% fall on average between pre-Covid-19 mid/late February 2020 and early April, as the market continues to battle COVID-19 uncertainty. Latest redundancy tracker.

Vacancy at Confor for a Technical and Industry Development Support Manager: Confor is seeking an ambitious and proactive individual to join a dedicated team led by the Deputy Chief Executive focussing on sector development and technical support to Confor members across the UK. You will play a key role to further develop and deliver technical services to meet Members’ needs and drive project and initiatives that will aid with the economic development of the sector across the UK.

For more information, visit ttf.co.uk

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