Today I am pleased to be joined by the Treasury and Resources Minister, Deputy Susie Pinel.
Earlier this month, the Government announced a series of fiscal stimulus measures designed to re-start our economy in the aftermath of the COVID-19 pandemic.
A central component of these measures is the Co-Funding Payroll Scheme, which provided immediate and direct financial support for businesses who had lost turnover, largely as a result of the need to impose an island-wide lockdown to prevent the spread of COVID-19.
By the end of next month, that scheme alone is estimated to have provided over £90 million in direct support to local businesses and their employees.
The payroll Scheme was launched March, and has evolved significantly since then. Ministers and officials have been closely monitoring its impact, adjusting guidance and improving the support and accessibility available for as many local businesses as possible.
We want that support to continue.
So today we are announcing that the Co Funded Payroll Support Scheme will be extended from the end of August, on a reducing scale, through until the end of March 2021.
This decision delivers on the government’s commitment not to allow a ‘cliff-edge’ or sudden end to the financial support and will provide much needed certainty to allow businesses to plan ahead.
I’ll now hand over to the Treasury Minister who will explain the next phase of this scheme in greater detail.
The continuation of the Co-Funded Payroll Scheme will provide continuity and confidence right through the winter until next spring, as well as generating targeted support for those businesses who need it.
As mentioned earlier, this third phase of the scheme will run alongside the wider fiscal stimulus measures we have begun to introduce to aid in our economic recovery post-pandemic.
One element of these measures is already in effect.
Last week those Islanders currently on Income Support or Pension Plus received £100 directly into their bank accounts. This will provide those Islanders with additional spending power to make essential purchases and use local services.
At the start of September, every Islander – adults and children – will receive a £100 card to spend locally, on whatever they like, to support our local economy.
Some of the other fiscal stimulus measures being implemented include the deferral of GST and Social Security repayments for up to two years, a reduction in employee social security contributions, and the establishment of a £50 million Fiscal Stimulus Fund.
All of these measures will form the basis of our initial recovery programme, and set us on the path for wider economic regeneration as we work through the pandemic.
As restrictions on trading have gradually - but carefully - been eased, businesses have been able to re-open and our economy has begun to move forward once again.
This has led to welcome reduction in those actively seeking work.
During the middle of May, there were 2,380 Islanders Actively Seeking Work. This number has fallen steadily every week to the current level of 1,760.
I am also pleased to report that number of claims by those individuals with less than 5 years residency - has also fallen considerably, dropping from a peak of 310 in the middle of May to 120 at the close of last week.
Income Support claims have also steadily declined, as shops and businesses have embarked upon a return to more familiar trading practises.
We fully understand the hardship that has, and in some cases, is still being felt and acknowledge that there is some way to go. But we also recognise the very positive signs of a slow but steady recovery which we hope will provide growing confidence to all islanders as we continue to move safely forward together.
Government of Jersey News.