MPs throw support behind inclusion of tronc in JRS

By James McAllister

- Last updated on GMT

MPs throw support behind inclusion of tronc in Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme

Related tags Government Job Retention Scheme Restaurant tronc Coronavirus

MPs from both sides of the House have pledged to support to a campaign asking Chancellor Rishi Sunak to include tronc payments in the Government’s Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme (JRS).

So far 26 MPs, many based in London, have expressed support and/or agreed to speak, write to or otherwise lobby the Chancellor regarding the matter. 

Furloughed hospitality employees from across the country are now being encouraged to write to their MPs asking for them to get behind the campaign. 

It comes after WMT Troncmaster Services managing director Peter Davies wrote a letter to the Chancellor earlier this month demanding the inclusion of tronc payments in the JRS​.

The letter, which received sector-wide support, said the decision not to allow tronc to be included in an employee’s calculated earnings means the pay-packet for furloughed hospitality staff can be as low as 55% of their usual salary. 

Under the JRS, employers are meant to be able to claim 80% of an employee’s monthly wages up to £2,500. 

However, the Government does not allow tronc payments, which can make up a significant portion of a hospitality worker’s monthly wage, to be included.

Davies said he believed the approach was based on a mistaken understanding of how tronc systems operate, citing comments recently made by the Treasury’s director general of tax and welfare Beth Russell. 

Speaking before the Commons Treasury Select Committee in late April, Ms Russell said: "The difficulty with tronc particularly is that in some cases tronc is notified to HMRC and in some cases it's not, so if we included it there would be unfairness in that approach as well.” 

Davies remarked that the overwhelming majority of customer gratuities these days are paid by card, meaning they are therefore subject to tax deductions. 

The letter received more than 50 co-signatories from across the industry including UKHospitality chief executive Kate Nicholls; chef Adam Handling; D&D London CEO Des Gunewardena; and Hawksmoor founder Will Beckett.

Having also now secured support from a cross-party group of MPs including Transport Secretary Grant Shapps and the Shadow Minister for Prisons and Probation Lyn Brown, Davies is calling on hospitality employees from across the country to write to their MPs asking for support.

“We are doing well in London, but am keen to get the message spread nationally so that MPs around the country start getting emails on this,” he says. 

“When their inboxes start filling up they will start to put pressure on the Chancellor.”

Those wanting to get involved can find who their MP is and how to contact them here​. 

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