Chancellor Rishi Sunak has announced another support scheme for businesses, this time focused on those affected by regionally-targeted COVID-19 lockdowns.
It offers an extension of the job support scheme for employees across the whole of the UK whose workplaces are legally required to close because of coronavirus restrictions, with the Government covering two-thirds of wages up to £2,100 per month.
The scheme opens on 1 November with the first payments due in December.
The cash grant for businesses required to close has also been increased and is now worth between £1,300 and £3,000 per month, depending on the rateable value of the business in question.
This ties into a widely-trailed change in the way the Government handles COVID-19 outbreaks expected to be announced in the coming days.
This page on the Government website has the fullest detail currently available.
The neverending Budget
From a news perspective, this is yet another major fiscal announcement, a little over two weeks since the Winter Economy Plan was unveiled.
This latest news came not via a statement to the House, as you might expect, or in a Downing Street press conference, but via a short social media video released at 3 o’clock on Friday afternoon.
If you work with hospitality businesses such as pubs, cafes or restaurants, they’ll no doubt be relieved to hear that this safety net has been announced.
To head off their questions and get information to them as quickly as possible, you’ll want to get informational content out as quickly as possible.
Your content plan
First, get the raw news out on your social media channels.
Focus on getting the main points across – the furlough extension, new grants, for businesses that are legally obliged to close.
As for your website, if you’re a PracticeWeb client and receive our news feed, the latest story is our summary of the key points.
If you have time and capacity this close to the weekend, I’d recommend writing a bespoke blog post which emphasises the relevance of this news to your specialist sectors and the region where your firm is based.
You’ll find useful images from HM Treasury, free to use, at Flickr.
Next, if you have a mailing list, get an email newsletter out to clients as quickly as possible. Again, feel free to copy and paste the text from the intro above as the basis of your message. Provide a link to the Government’s policy information page or to any information you’ve put together on your own website.
This would also be a good opportunity to urge people to follow the firm or its partners on social media, providing links to their Twitter and/or LinkedIn profiles.
Further support from PracticeWeb
We’ve produced a short explainer video on this new announcement which you are free to embed on your website or download and share via social media.
PracticeWeb clients who receive our fortnightly newsletter service will be provided with a more detailed piece on this announcement next Wednesday.
We’ll also be sure to cover it in our Business and Tax Pack at the end of the month, including any further details about eligibility and application processes that have been shared by the Government.
With coronavirus rules, restrictions and support measures changing rapidly, improving your communications will allow you to focus on helping your small business clients when they need it most.
Talk to us about how you can create an effective, highly-targeted communications strategy before the next wave of Government announcements.