The Workers Union has issued a statement supporting a furlough extension for those ‘most in need’.
The news came as HMRC figures revealed that there were over a million fewer people on furlough at the end of May than at the start of the month.
The number of people claiming support now stands at between 1.3 and 1.9 million according to the latest figures.
A spokesperson for the union said: ‘There was always going to be a drop off in the number of people benefitting from this scheme, as the country – and business – looks to return to normal.
‘However, returning to normal must not mean shutting the coffers completely. There are still sectors of our economy that need to be supported through what remain difficult operating conditions.
‘We’d like to see the government consider targeted extension schemes that pump cash into the most affected areas.’
Under existing plans, the furlough – or Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme – will be phased out in September. Before the final payments are made, the next three months will see employers asked to contribute by paying for a percentage of staff wages. The government will pay the rest.
On the BBC’s Today programme, Business Secretary, Kwasi Kwarteng said: ‘The furlough isn’t simply being switched off.
‘All we’re saying is that the employer should contribute something to the payroll, and then over time, over the next three months, the furlough will be will be taken away.
‘It’s a difficult balanced decision to make, the furlough wasn’t going to last forever.
‘I think, as we open up in two weeks’ time, this is the right time to think about the balance of payroll, which the government pays and which employers pay.’
The Workers Union on Furlough
The government must be congratulated for their brave decision to keep the furlough scheme running for so long. They have shown that they value the jobs of working people and understand the many sacrifices they’ve made to keep the country running in a time of great need.
Now they must take another important step and continue to protect vulnerable workers’ jobs. Some industries – such as hospitality – are going to continue to struggle while the virus still has a presence and the rules are so unclear.
They cannot be left to accrue debt while workers’ jobs burn.
We knew that this was going to be a long haul towards the light. We knew that some sectors would take longer to recover. So let’s get behind them and show the world that we really are all in this together.
The Workers Union – fighting for social justice, fighting for you