EASTBOURNE MP Caroline Ansell is backing today’s new spending plans to help save jobs.

The government and firms will continue to top up wages of workers who have not been able to return to the workplace full time due to the coronavirus.

The Jobs Support Scheme, which will replace the furlough scheme, will see workers get three quarters of their normal salaries for six months.

It aims to stop mass job cuts after the government introduced new measures to tackle a rise in coronavirus cases.

Chancellor Rishi Sunak said it was part of a wider “winter economy plan”.

Caroline Ansell is pleased and also backs the VAT change.

She said: “I am delighted the VAT increase back to 20% has been postponed until 31st March next year and that Eastbourne’s hospitality and tourism sectors will be able to benefit from the existing 5% VAT until then.

This is something I have lobbied the Treasury to do, especially now we have stricter restrictions adversely affecting these sectors that are so important to our town.

I accept this is not a complete solution, and I really do understand the frustration around the 10pm curfew for those who run restaurants and pubs, but it will help a great deal and is good government.

I am also pleased the government will top up workers’ wages through the new Job Support Scheme if they can only work part-time in viable jobs.

It appears the criteria is more stringent for this scheme than for the furlough it replaces, especially because larger firms will need to prove they have been adversely affected by Covid.  

However, this is a flexible approach, again recognising that we have stricter rules now that were perhaps previously anticipated at the start of summer.

I also welcome that businesses, which deferred their VAT, can now split their payments into smaller amounts over a longer period rather than having to pay a lump sum at the end of March next year. Again, this is a sensible and flexible policy that will benefit many businesses in Eastbourne and Willingdon.

In addition, loan schemes to help struggling businesses and the self-employed have been extended.

These remain generous support structures to help as many people and businesses as possible.

It is also a move towards a more sustainable approach to the economic challenges we face from Covid. Just like the population, businesses will also have to live with this virus too.”