Update: Winter Economy Plan announced

24 September 2020

Chancellor Rishi Sunak has today delivered a statement to the House of Commons outlining his Winter Economy Plan.

You can read the new Job Support Scheme factsheet here. In summary, the following measures have been announced:

Job Support Scheme

  • replaces the Job Retention Scheme
  • rather than being made redundant, employees will work on a part time basis: employers pay for the hours worked, while the Government and employer pay a further third each of the remaining hours not worked
    • this will mean employers paying a slightly larger contribution than the hours that an employee works (HMT infographic)
  • all SMEs are eligible, however non-SMEs will be exempt unless their turnover has fallen
  • open to companies who have not previously used the Job Retention Scheme
  • employers who take up the Job Support Scheme can continue to claim the Job Retention Bonus
  • self-employed grant extended on the same conditions as Job Support Scheme – you can read the factsheet here

Pay as you Grow

  • bounce-back loans extended from 6 to 10 years, “nearly halving monthly payments”
  • payments can be suspended for up to six months and credit rating unaffected
  • Government will continue to guarantee Coronavirus interruption loans for up to ten years
  • deadline for loan applications has been extended to the end of this year
  • a successor loan programme will begin in January
  • businesses can spread their VAT bill over eleven smaller repayments with no interest


  • will remain at the reduced rate of 5% for hospitality and tourism sector until no sooner than 31 March 2021

HMT has published the Winter Economy Plan update in full and a press release on the announcement. The following factsheets can be viewed for reference:

Regulations around bars in Theatres
After the Prime Minister’s announcement earlier in the week, more clarity for our sector. has been asked for. The regulations around serving food and drink and an Explanatory Memorandum have been published. These new regulations for businesses include theatres, in particular:

  • From Thursday 24 September, a business that sells alcohol for consumption on the premises must only provide table service. This means all food and drink (whether or not alcoholic) must be ordered from, served at and consumed by seated customers. A business that does not sell alcohol, but sells food and drink for consumption on or near the premises, does not need to provide table service. However, food and drink must be consumed by customers while they are seated.For example, in a theatre or a cinema, a bar selling alcohol must only provide table service, and customers must be seated. A kiosk or counter that does not sell alcohol can sell food or drink over the counter, as long as they take reasonable steps to ensure customers will only consume the food or drink once seated.
  • In some cases, both types of business or service may be offered separately within a single venue; for example, a theatre that has a bar selling alcohol on one floor and a kiosk on another floor that does not. In those circumstances, a kiosk which does not sell or supply alcoholic drinks will be able to sell food and soft drinks over the counter, provided it is wholly separate and distant from any place at which alcoholic drinks are sold or supplied. This includes offering the services from separate locations, using stewards and signs to ensure customers know the different rules, and ensuring the services are placed sufficiently far apart to enable staff to implement the rules and to avoid a breakdown of social distancing.

Kickstart: New government scheme offering job placements for unemployed 16 – 24 year olds
You may have seen the government’s recent announcement of its Kickstart scheme to provide funding to employers to create 6 month job placements for unemployed 16 – 24 year olds.

We acknowledge that our members’ organisations are in varying states of distress and disruption at present, with many closed, working at significantly reduced levels, or going through redundancy processes with their workforce. We also know that many of our members’ organisations have either reopened or are making reopening plans.

As we have had several enquiries about the Kickstart scheme, we wanted to let all members know about it, in case you are able to take advantage of it.

SOLT and UK Theatre are currently working on the Kickstart scheme alongside Creative & Cultural Skills who are exploring options to become a Representative Organisation. The purpose of this role is to aid single employers that cannot provide 30 placements (of which we know many theatre business won’t be able to).

The challenge at this time for young people at the start of their careers, especially those from low socio-economic status, is enormous. It would be hugely positive if through Kickstart we could support both your organisation and young people’s routes into work, in spite of all the challenges our sector and workforce is currently facing.

For more information about this initiative, please read more on our website (scroll down to the dropdown on Entry Routes).

If you are interested in taking part in the scheme via CC Skills, please contact them by Thursday 1 October.