By Jane Parry – managing partner at PM+M.

The chancellor’s announcement around the new Job Support Scheme which will help keep millions of people stay in viable jobs on shorter hours but with their wages topped up by the government was hugely welcome. It is a natural extension of the Furlough Scheme and one that I am sure will be well received and a relief to millions of businesses and workers across the UK. The news that it is available to all SMEs is exactly the kind of clarity they need to weather the next six months and the expected continued downturn. Businesses can now plan for the future and keep the talents of their employees at the heart of their organisations.

I was also pleased to hear that he hadn’t forgotten about the self-employed, some of whom did fall through the cracks at the start of the crisis. The extension of the Self Employed Grant is great news and will, once again, give peace of mind to those working for themselves and reassurance that they are valued and supported.

The other announcements around changes to how the Bounce Back and other loan schemes can be repaid once again give businesses breathing space, as does the option to spread deferred VAT payments over 11 months and keeping the VAT rate at 5% for the hospitality and tourism sectors until the end of March

On the face of it, everything announced today has got to be applauded. However, the devil is in the detail so we need to wait for more information to be published so we fully understand the impact all of this will have.