October too soon to remove furlough warn business groups
By Rob Freeman | 7th September 2020
Fresh calls have been made for the Government to extend or replace the furlough scheme beyond October to prevent a further influx of job cuts.
The CBI warned a replacement for the job retention scheme, which is being phased out after paying 80 per cent of workers' pay up to £2,500 a month since March, is need to avoid reaching a "cliff edge".
And manufacturing trade body Make UK said support needs to remain in place for the hardest-hit sectors which have already been forced to make huge cuts in numbers.
The scheme is due to finish at the end of October but Germany, France, Australia and Belgium have all extended or launched new support schemes into next year.
Make UK chief executive 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.
"The starting point for this should be an extension of the Job Retention Scheme to those sectors which are not just our most important but who have been hit hardest.
"Failure to do so will leave us out of step with our major competitors and risk a loss of key skills when we can least afford to do so."
CBI head Dame Carolyn Fairbairn said the deadline needed to be pushed back.
She told The Financial Times: "Many companies will find that cliff edge very difficult to manage. It's too soon to pull business support away at the end of October."
The Treasury said the scheme had supporter more than 9.6 million jobs.
A spokesman said: "We've been clear that that we can't sustain this situation indefinitely and must now focus on providing fresh work opportunities for those in need across the UK."
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