The Dirty Bottles in Alnwick welcomes Rishi Sunak's revised measures to support hospitality trade

An Alnwick restaurant owner has welcomed new measures to help hospitality businesses through the winter.

Chancellor Rishi Sunak has revised the Job Support Scheme, set to replace furlough in November, with increased support for jobs and workers.

It follows pressure from businesses in areas with Tier 2 Covid-19 restrictions, such as Northumberland.

Mark Jones, owner of The Dirty Bottles, said: “I think it is a really positive step.

The Dirty Bottles in Alnwick.

"We’re still trying to absorb the guts of the information but in terms of support from the employment side of things it’s a definite improvement."

Instead of a minimum requirement of paying 55% of wages for a third of hours, as announced last month, employers will have to pay for a minimum of 20% of usual hours worked, and 5% of hours not worked.

The government will now fund 62% of the wages for hours not worked. This more than doubles the maximum payment to £1,541.75 a month.

"The Job Support Scheme coming into replace the furlough scheme was not fit for purpose for the hospitality sector,” said Mark. “It didn’t make any sense. The new scheme is far more realistic.

"The big plus is that Tier 2 businesses which still trade on limited capacity will be able to receive grants to help them break even or perhaps even into profit."

“We’ve managed to trade really well despite the restrictions,” said Mark. “We’re actually 20 per cent up on this time last year which could be down to the refurbishment and our extension.

"We know these are tough trading times for many and others may not be in the same position as us but we’re remaining positive as we look towards next Easter.

"We have spent a lot of money on the refurbishment and taken some risks so it’s great to see the people of Northumberland and tourists really supporting us.”

Berwick MP Anne-Marie Trevelyan said: “I am really pleased the Chancellor has listened to the repeated lobbying efforts made by me and my colleagues to help out the businesses in our areas that are have not been forced to close, but have had their ability to trade restricted by the ongoing measures.”

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