Businesses in tier 2 lockdown areas will receive more financial support from the government, the Chancellor Rishi Sunak is expected to announce today (Thursday).
Currently, the Job Support Scheme, which will replace the furlough scheme in November, is only available to businesses ordered to close as part of the tier 3 restrictions, funding 67% of workers wages.
Opposition parties, business groups and business owners have criticised the government for not doing enough to support companies in tier 2 areas that have seen demand plummet but have not been told to close.
Following talks on Wednesday, the government agreed to introduce the part-time Job Support Scheme for tier 2 regions. The part-time version of the scheme requires employees to work 33% of their hours in order to receive a 22% top up from their employer and 22% top up from the government.
A spokesperson for the Chancellor said: "What we have always said is that our package of support is always flexible, and always up for review, to make sure that it is dealing with the situation as it evolves."
However, unions and business groups believe that many businesses affected by the tier 2 restrictions won't be able to make use of the scheme and will have no choice but to cut jobs.
UK Hospitality, the industry trade body, said it would put around 250,000 jobs at risk in London alone. Under the restrictions, restaurants and pubs must close at 10pm, causing a dramatic drop in revenues. Many business owners had been left wishing they were under tier 3 restrictions so that they would receive financial help.