Redundancy fears in Harlow as furlough scheme ends today

Business / Thu 30th Sep 2021 at 05:55am

THE UK’s furlough scheme closes on Thursday, but some badly-hit sectors are saying support should continue.

Furlough was introduced in March 2020 and helped pay the wages of 11.6 million workers after Covid-19 forced large parts of the economy to close reports the BBC.

At the end of July it was still supporting the incomes of around 1.6m workers, the latest HMRC figures show.

This will concern Harlow as over 16,000 residents have been on furlough since March, according to Harlow Council figures.

The chancellor said he was “immensely proud” of the near £70bn scheme, but now was the right time to close it.

The policy, officially known as the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme, or CJRS, accounts for around one-fifth of the money the government has spent on the response to the pandemic.

While it has been widely praised for protecting millions of jobs, firms in sectors where business has still not returned to normal say they need further support.

Mark Andrew, the director of Animal Aircare, which helps pets travel overseas via Gatwick Airport, said some of his staff may be made redundant if business does not improve.

The firm has not yet had to lay off staff, which Mr Andrew said was “purely down to furlough”.

“Furlough ending means there’s a real question mark for our business. We’re still waiting for Gatwick to pick up… it seems the airline industry is not buoyant enough yet,” he said.

The number of workers on furlough has fallen steadily this year as lockdown restrictions eased and businesses reopened but the latest figures available showed about 1.6 million remained on the scheme in July.

Under the scheme, the government paid towards the wages of people who could not work, or whose employers could no longer afford to pay them, up to a monthly limit of £2,500.

At first it paid 80% of their usual wage, but in August and September it paid 60%, with employers paying 20%.

It is unclear how many of those still on furlough in September were relying on it for all of their income.

According to Citizens Advice, people could work elsewhere while furloughed – if their employment contract allowed.

Many forecasters, including the Bank of England, are expecting a small rise in unemployment now the scheme has ended.


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3 Comments for Redundancy fears in Harlow as furlough scheme ends today:

2021-09-30 06:35:27

Further support ! What more do they want? My neighbour has spent the last 18 months boasting to me how he's being paid £2000 a month for sitting at home watching daytime tv. Well the good news (for me) is he has just found out that his job no longer exists so my message to him is welcome to the real world where you'll find dole money is rather less than furlough.

2021-09-30 09:04:36

Will we also also see all the mickey mouse firms set up to milk it close? Not that they were ever open.

2021-09-30 09:25:03

good, plenty of jobs about if you want to earn. but some people want to sit on their backside all day. I've worked all the way threw the pandemic like many others surely we deserve a break at some point

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