Sara’s blog: Government’s Winter Economic Plan

The government has acted swiftly with a raft of measures to help business, following the PMs announcement on tightening of restrictions to curb the spread of Covid19, at a pivotal time for the UK economy.

Chancellor Rishi Sunak was quick to unveil his Winter Economic Plan, including measures to support businesses and the economy as the pandemic continues.

Chambers of Commerce have consistently called for a new generation of support to protect livelihoods and ease cash pressures faced by firms as the Job Retention Scheme winds down and we head into a challenging and uncertain winter.

The Chancellor has taken steps that will help preserve jobs. The new Jobs Support Scheme will help many companies hold on to valued, skilled employees.

The Chancellor has also listened to our consistent calls for an extension of business lending schemes, more flexible repayment terms for loans, and tax forbearance measures. With many firms reporting a shortage of cash reserves, this will lessen the immediate pressure and provide reassurance for many.

A summary of the main points of the Winter Economic Plan:

  • A new Jobs Support Scheme will be launched for employees working at least a third of their normal hours, who are being paid for that as normal. The government and employers will jointly increase their wages to cover two-thirds of their lost pay and the employee will keep their job
  • All small and medium-sized businesses are eligible, but larger businesses must show their turnover has fallen during the crisis. Employers can use it even if they have not previous used the furlough scheme it replaces
  • It will run for six months from November
  • The existing grant for self-employed people is being extended on similar terms to the Jobs Support Scheme
  • A “pay as you grow” scheme was announced for businesses, allowing them to extend their bounce back loans from six to 10 years, reducing their payments
  • Businesses can also move to interest-only payments or suspend repayments for six months if they are “in real trouble”. Credit ratings will be unaffected
  • The government guarantee on Coronavirus Business Interruption Loans will be extended to 10 years and a new successor loan guarantee programme will be announced in January
  • The temporary reduction of VAT from 20% to 5% for some sectors will remain in place until 31 March 2021

The British Chambers of Commerce (BCC) will continue to lobby the government to take additional action to support parts of the economy facing unprecedented challenges over the months ahead.

If you have any immediate concerns or issues you would like us to raise via BCC, please let us no by email to

Finally, I just wanted to let you know that we are keeping our Members’ Lounge at Commerce House open for business. We have all the necessary hygiene and distancing measures in place. So, if you need somewhere safe to work or meet, we would be delighted to see you.  You can view the facilities here:

If you want to talk to us about any business issues, you can call our switchboard on 01782 202222 or call the Stoke and Staffs Growth Hub Helpline on 0300 111 8002.

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