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World Businesses face repaying Covid support payments

16:27  27 january  2021
16:27  27 january  2021 Source:   bbc.com

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Businesses have reacted with anger over States of Guernsey proposals to recover financial support from profits made.

a city street: The payroll co-funding scheme has been changed to allow the States of Guernsey to recover support paid to profitable businesses at the end of 2021 © BBC The payroll co-funding scheme has been changed to allow the States of Guernsey to recover support paid to profitable businesses at the end of 2021

The payroll co-funding scheme was reintroduced on Tuesday by the States, but now means support can be claimed back at the end of the year.

Phil Horsepool, from events organiser Bonboniera, said many businesses were already "working seven days a week" to recover from the first lockdown.

The bailiwick entered lockdown on Saturday after four unexplained cases.

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The scheme, which pays 80% of Guernsey's £8.70 minimum wage to employees up to 42 hours a week and requires businesses to pay the remaining 20%, is expected to cost the States £2.5m per week.

It is also open to the self-employed and sole traders, the States confirmed.

'Used up savings'

Mr Horsepool explained they were not allowed to work at all due to the lockdown rules, despite being capable of doing contactless delivery.

He said: "Suddenly overnight we've got not a penny of income coming in.

"What they forget is since the last lockdown most of us have been working seven days a week just to recoup some of the major losses we had during [the last lockdown]. And the same thing will happen again."

Shane Mauger, who runs New Image salon, argued the support was insufficient as many businesses would not be able afford to pay the 20% with no income coming in.

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"Last lockdown most businesses used up their savings and revenue to keep their business alive whilst closed down," he added.

a man standing in front of a store: Shane Mauger, pictured after his salon reopened in June, said businesses were still recovering from the first lockdown © BBC Shane Mauger, pictured after his salon reopened in June, said businesses were still recovering from the first lockdown

President of the Policy and Resources Committee Peter Ferbrache confirmed at Tuesday's press briefing the scheme now includes a clause which allows the States to ask businesses to return the support if they turn a profit by the end of the year.

He called on business owners to "think very hard" about if they need support, given many "thankfully bounced back very well" after the last lockdown and the "enormous" pressure on public finances.

Deputy Ferbrache said: "We need to direct public finances, which are under strain, where they're most needed."

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usr: 0
This is interesting!