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Businesses call for furlough scheme extension, warn of rise in unemployment

Mon, 7th Sep 2020 08:43

(Sharecast News) - UK businesses are calling for an extension of the government's furlough scheme for critical sectors of the country's economy.
The scheme is allowing companies to keep workers on and the consequences of not extending could be a rise in unemployment and a loss of key skills.

Make UK, which represents 20,000 companies, joined calls for the government to make a U-turn regarding the end of the coronavirus job retention scheme in the autumn after CBI leader Carolyn Fairbairn urged for a new scheme to preserve jobs.

The chief executive of Make UK, Stephen Phipson, said: "The protection of key skills should be a strategic national priority as this will be the first building block in getting the economy up and running. Ensuring that those sectors which are at the forefront of technology and will provide the growth sectors and high-skill jobs in recovery should receive the greatest support possible".

The scheme has so far paid 80% of the wages of 9.6m furloughed workers, up to £2,500 per month, since it was launched in March, and has also supported 2.6m self-employed people.

From September, firms have to pay employers' national insurance and pension contributions for their furloughed staff, as well as 10% of the workers' wages, rising to 20% in October . The scheme is set to end at the start of November.

This could mean that a new wave of redundancies will hit the country in autumn.

According to the Guardian, over two-fifths of companies said they had already cut jobs, and a further third of firms said they intended to make workers redundant in the next six months.

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