Wednesday 24 November 2021 - Report

Government support to businesses during the COVID-19 pandemic – other schemes

Topics: COVID-19

Departments: Customer & Local Services, Economic Development, Treasury & Exchequer

Sector: Grants, Subsidies & Other Funding

Government support to businesses during the COVID-19 pandemic – Other Schemes - report

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Background

An important part of the Government of Jersey’s response to the COVID-19 pandemic was the introduction, at pace, of schemes to provide financial support to businesses and individuals on the Island. The Government’s initial measures to assist local businesses and preserve Islanders’ livelihoods, were announced within 24 hours of the categorisation of COVID-19 as a pandemic by the World Health Organisation.

The schemes that were introduced in the initial stages of the COVID-19 pandemic included the Co-Funded Payroll Scheme (CFPS), the deferral of Goods and Services Tax (GST) and Social Security contributions and the Business Disruption Loan Guarantee Scheme (BDLGS). As the COVID-19 pandemic continued during 2020, more schemes were introduced to provide direct support to businesses, including the Visitor Accommodation Support Scheme (VASS), the Fixed Costs Support Scheme (FCSS) and the Visitor Attractions and Events Scheme (VAES).

Scope

The review evaluates the robustness of the processes and controls for the design and implementation of four schemes – BDLGS, VASS, FCSS and VAES.

It focusses on the following aspects of each scheme:

  • scheme objectives
  • business case and decision making
  • design and operation of the control framework; and
  • monitoring and reporting. 

The results of specific reviews in respect of the CFPS and the COVID-19 Related Emergency Support Scheme (CRESS) are reported separately.

Conclusions

The Government moved quickly to develop and implement a suite of schemes to support the business sector. Businesses have used the schemes for support during the COVID-19 pandemic although not to the degree anticipated when the schemes were introduced.

It is important for Government to complete its planned post payment audit checks as soon as possible in order to recover any monies claimed fraudulently or in error. There remains a risk that errors and fraudulent payments are yet to be identified and that, if they are, it could be more difficult to recover monies due to the time lag since payment. It is also important for Government to undertake formal evaluations as the schemes end to assess the effectiveness of the individual schemes in meeting their planned objectives.


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