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Government will pay up to 80% of wages during coronavirus crisis

By Rachel LawlerRishi Sunak

Chancellor Rishi Sunak has announced plans for the government to pay employers up to 80% of employees wages during the coronavirus crisis.

Businesses in the UK will be able to apply for up to £2,500 a month for each worker – which is equivalent to a median-rate salary. The Chancellor says that this means that businesses should be able to retain their staff even if they are unable to pay them.

Employers will need to designate staff as “furloughed workers” – and let HMRC know which staff this applies to via a new online portal. Further details on how this will work are due to be released in the coming days and weeks.

Businesses may also be able to apply for a short-term business interruption loan.

Neil Leitch, chief executive of the Alliance, said: “This is an incredibly significant announcement and will hugely welcomed by childcare providers preparing to close - either partially or fully - next week.

"With many still working out exactly how many children will be eligible for care as of Monday, and in turn, how many staff they will need, it is incredibly reassuring to know that providers will be able to continue to pay staff who are not needed to work during this period up to 80% of their wages for the next three months.

"This, alongside the postponement of VAT payments until June, will make a huge difference to helping providers weather this storm and the government should be commended for taking these important steps.

"That said, we recognise that self-employed childminders will not be enjoying the same feeling of relief that the rest of the sector will and so we will continue to push for more support for this vital part of the childcare sector."

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