Economy Minister Diane Dodds has responded to the Chancellor’s Winter Economy Plan announcement.
The Minister said: “I welcome the news that VAT will be kept at 5% until the end of March for businesses in the tourism and hospitality industry – such a key cornerstone of our local economy. Given the changing picture around the prevalence of the virus, it was also important that the UK Government acted to provide more time to businesses around loan repayment.
“The extension of the Self Employed Income Support Scheme with additional grant payments is welcome to an extent, but falls short of what I have been calling for as it is at a level noticeably lower than before.
“In relation to the job support scheme, I have always been clear that to have ended the furlough and the self-employed scheme without putting any UK-wide support in its place would have been disastrous for the NI economy. While the Chancellor did not extend the furlough scheme he has introduced a replacement scheme with a new approach and from November the UK Government, along with employers, will top up workers’ wages, covering up to two-thirds of their hours not worked.
“I will, however, need to look very closely at the detail of this new scheme to gauge how it will work for employers and workers, particularly those in sectors still trading at very low levels with many workers still on furlough.”