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Gloucestershire Business News

MPs call for targeted extension of furlough scheme

The Government has again been urged to consider extending the furlough scheme for specific parts of the economy.

The latest call has come from the Treasury Select Committee which said partially extending the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme past October 31 would "continue to innovate in supporting incomes and employment".

But it said 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."

The scheme will have helped around 9.6 million workers since it was launched in March and has contributed to the unemployment rate remaining at 3.9 per cent.

That figure was predicted to rise to 7.5 per cent by the end of the year, according to the Bank of England, but Chancellor Rishi Sunak and Prime Minister Boris Johnson have both ruled out an extension.

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