Staffordshire businesses are being urged to find out more about all available support to them following the introduction of new Covid-19 restrictions.

The national Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme, also known as the furlough scheme, has now been extended until the end of March next year and there is also a package of support initiatives that have been put in place by the county council and its partners.

In addition, local businesses can find out more about the Kickstart scheme for 16 to 24-year-olds, which enables them to take on fully funded work placements. The county council will shortly launch a Start Up Loans Scheme, a Student Start Up Scheme and the create of a digital Start Up Prospectus for potential new business in Staffordshire.

On Thursday 5th November, the Chancellor Rishi Sunak announced the job retention scheme will be extended until March 2021 with employees receiving 80% of their current salary for hours not worked, up to a maximum of £2,500 each month. Anyone made redundant after September 23 can be rehired and put back on furlough. The Job Support Scheme, which was scheduled to come in on Sunday November 1, has been postponed until the furlough scheme ends. The Self-employment Income Support Scheme has also been extended, until April 2021.

Business premises forced to close in England are to receive grants worth up to £3,000 per month under the Local Restrictions Support Grant and £1.1bn is being given to district and borough councils, distributed on the basis of £20 per head, for one-off payments to enable them to support businesses more broadly.

Any businesses wanting more information on support programmes should contact the Stoke-on-Trent and Staffordshire Growth Hub at www.stokestaffsgrowthhub.co.uk or call 0300 111 8002.

Staffordshire County Council leader Alan White said: “We have been committed to supporting our businesses in any way we can, working closely with our partners at the LEP and district and borough councils since the initial lockdown in March.

“We are now facing huge challenges with the introduction of new restrictions which has closed all but essential retail outlets. The furlough scheme has been extended which we welcome, and we want to ensure that businesses are fully aware of all support programmes that are available to them.

“Throughout this period we will send regular communications to them, with our partners, so they have the most up-to-date information.”

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