Call For “Targeted Extension” Of Furlough Scheme

MPs have supported a call by business and trade union for the government to continue wage support when the furlough scheme ends in October, urging chancellor Rishi Sunak to consider a “targeted” extension to prevent rising long-term unemployment.

The latest call has come from the Treasury Select Committee which said partially (targeted) extending of the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme past October 31 would “continue to innovate in supporting incomes and employment”, adding that continuing the scheme, which is being wound down after paying 80 per cent of salaries for furloughed workers, across the economy would provide value for money.

Committee chairman Mel Stride said: “The key will be assisting those businesses who, with additional support, can come through the crisis as sustainable enterprises, rather than focusing on those that will unfortunately just not be viable in the changed post-crisis economy.”

The Federation of Small Businesses has called the Government needed to target areas which have been hit hardest by the coronavirus pandemic.

National chairman Mike Cherry said: “The priority should be protecting viable small businesses – and all the jobs they provide – that have been disproportionately hit by the coronavirus crisis, including those caught by local lockdowns, subject to continued national restrictions, or with staff that have directly suffered because of Covid.”

Boris Johnson has repeatedly ruled out any extension of the job retention scheme, with the saying that it would do no good to keep people in “suspended animation” in jobs that were no longer viable.