BUSINESS leaders have welcomed new Government support to help during the continuing coronavirus crisis - but say more is needed.

The Job Support Scheme (JSS) is being expanded to support businesses forced to close due to lockdown restrictions.

Employees must be off work for a minimum of seven consecutive days, and the scheme will begin on November 1 and be available for six months, with a review in January. Payments to businesses will be made in arrears.

Andrew Digwood, president, York & North Yorkshire Chamber and a partner at Rollits in York, said: “The enhanced Job Support Scheme will provide some additional relief for businesses forced to close due to intensified restrictions.

“It is right that the Chancellor has responded to our long-standing calls for more local support, as so many areas across our region now face restrictions and closures.

“More generous cash grants will be of some help, but for most this will not be enough to offset a sustained cash crunch.

“As welcome as this new support will be for companies shut down by government decree, additional local restrictions and lockdowns will have a material impact on many other firms, especially in supply chains and in town and city centres.

“Their cash flow concerns, and worries about future demand, must be heeded.

“At the end of the day, no fiscal support will ever be a substitute for an open, functioning economy.

“While the Chancellor deserves thanks for enhancing the support on offer, the goal of government must be to get to a point where wide-ranging restrictions, and the economic disruption they bring, are no longer needed.”

Federation of Small Businesses’s chairman Mike Cherry said there needed to be consideration for businesses which would not directly benefit from the measures.

These include those forced to close who don’t occupy premises, as well as those being told to stay shut regardless of location. While support is being more closely targeted at certain kinds of businesses, we must be alert to suffering right the way down supply chains.

“Thousands of company directors and newly self-employed people are still without any income support, 200 days on from the outset of this crisis. A comprehensive rescue package for those excluded is urgently needed. Policymakers should also go further to cut day-to-day overheads for small firms."