The Chancellor of the Exchequer has listened to The Workers Union and extended the furlough scheme until the end of April 2021.
In a move designed to offer ‘certainty to millions of jobs’, Rishi Sunak said that making government support available for an additional month would help businesses to plan ahead.
However, The Workers Union has called for greater investment, citing problems with staff retention after furlough ends as a brake on economic recovery.
The furlough – or Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme – was originally rolled out in March of this year. Since then it has been extended several times in response to the COVID-19 pandemic. Recent figures from the Treasury reveal that government money has already subsidised 9.6 million jobs.
The Workers Union on Extending Furlough
The Chancellor has done the honourable thing and provided working people with some degree of respite. But now the government must show compassion and economic literacy by going much further.
The Workers Union is asking Mr Sunak to make the furlough scheme available to businesses until the end of August. This would mean company chiefs have more time to assess the effects of the COVID vaccine on the economic landscape. It’s a crucial point, because it will be difficult to make a case for retaining staff while so much of the population remains unprotected. The earlier in the year financial support for jobs is withdrawn, the less likely it is that heavily affected regions of the country are out of lockdown and money is moving freely again. This could create a “cliff-edge” that leaves workers on the jobs scrapheap while companies continue to freeze recruitment.
Therefore it is essential the country has a medium-term plan that links job-support with a fully-funded package of training for anyone made redundant or working reduced hours thanks to COVID. By the same token, ministers must provide cash boosts to growth industries in order to create jobs for reskilled workers.
Only then we will we restore confidence and start the long road to economic recovery.
The Workers Union – fighting for jobs, fighting for you