Ministers are reviewing the latest edition of the co-funded payroll scheme after concerns were raised about some sectors including restaurants and bars being left out, Express understands.
The covid-related scheme was reintroduced last month to provide payroll support for December and this month. However, the sectors covered are limited.
Restaurants, bars and sole traders, for instance, appear to be excluded, prompting industry representatives to call for clarity and – if they are cut out of this latest incarnation – reform to include them.
Restaurateur Natalie Duffy, who is also a committee member of the Jersey Hospitality Association, said she had no idea why restaurants and bars had been omitted from the list of businesses eligible for co-funded payroll, adding that this was the first time they had been left off in its seven versions.
Pictured: Restaurants appear to be excluded from the current round of co-funded payroll support.
She said: “I don’t know the reason why they’ve been left out, but I can only assume that the Government have heard that some restaurants and cafes have kept going so they’ve assumed everything is ok.
“Yes, some establishments have done better than others but each restaurant and bar needs to be considered individually.
“Yes, there is the Fixed Costs Support Scheme too but that is a drop in the ocean for most businesses.”
Chamber of Commerce Chief Executive Murray Norton said that Chamber was also calling for restaurants to be included.
“We have written to Economic Development Minister Lyndon Farnham and we understand that the Government is discussing this at the moment,” he said. “Ministers said when this scheme was launched last month that they would keep it under review and we feel that there is no better time than now for that to happen.
“The eligibility criteria is less than clear so, at the very least, we need to see more clarity on who can claim.”
Mr Norton added that there was also confusion over whether employees who had joined businesses since March 2020 – which is the month which Government uses to compare subsequent covid-related losses – could be claimed for.
He said that sole traders also needed to be added to the scheme.
“We have no issue with the Government taking steps to protect islanders from covid but the current work-from-home recommendation is having a serious impact on traders,” he said. “They are also really struggling to interpret the support guidelines – we want Government to not only expand the support but explain it better.”
The Government has been approached for a comment.
The business sectors currently falling under the latest scheme, according to official guidance, are:
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