Government support through Covid-19 pandemic – Island figures revealed

By Carole Dennett Sep 21, 2020

The staggering level of government support to businesses and individuals on the Isle of Wight during the Covid-19 crisis has been revealed in figures released by the Office of National Statistics.

Up until August 2, a total of £68.26 million pounds was loaned to Island businesses, with 84 loans under the Coronavirus Business Interruption Loan Scheme totalling £13.5 million, and £54.75 million Bounce Back Loans going to 2,072 smaller businesses who have each borrowed up to £50,000.

The Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme, which brought the word ‘furloughed’ into everyday usage gives figures up until the end of July. The scheme saw the government pay 18,400 Islanders, 35 per cent of the employed workforce, up to 100 per cent of their salary at the height of the crisis. The total cost of the Island take-up of the scheme is not revealed, but the scheme provides grants rather than loans so will not need to be repaid. The support for jobs is being tapered out and will finish at the end of October when it is anticipated that the number of people out of work will rise. HMRC recently estimated that between five to 10 percent of claims could have been overpaid as a result of fraud or error.

There were also 6,500 claims for Self-Employment Income Support up to July 31, with 76 per cent of self-employed Islanders claiming £17.4 million pounds, also paid out as grants.