Furlough Extension Response

Industry views as we go again through to March.

Responding to the Chancellor’s announcement extending the furlough scheme today, Neil Carberry, Chief Executive of the Recruitment and Employment Confederation, said:

“Businesses want support that is stable across the crisis, rather than changing week-to-week. So the extension of the furlough scheme to the end of March is a good move.

“But there is more to do. The fight against the virus is being compromised by the failure to fund Statutory Sick Pay for every worker if they need to self-isolate. The vast majority of businesses supplying temporary workers, who are vital to sectors like education, logistics and care, are ineligible for SSP support – and a stand-off over who pays could lead to greater economic damage, as work gets shelved.

“We need to keep hiring demand as high as we can. Lowering the cost of labour by reducing employers National Insurance contributions, the biggest business tax, is one measure which will help.

APSCo welcomes Chancellor’s increased support for the self-employed and furlough extension

The Association of Professional Staffing Companies (APSCo) has welcomed the Chancellor’s extension of the furlough scheme and increased support for the self-employed past December 2020, but calls for greater clarity and swifter action over the coming months.

In an announcement today, Rishi Sunak revealed that the job retention scheme would be extended at 80% until the 31st March and support for the self-employed would double to 80% of average profits last year, up to a cap of £7,500, covering the November to January period.

According to Tania Bowers, Legal Counsel and Head of Public Policy at APSCo, while this news is welcomed, clarity and speed will be crucial over the coming months:

“With the UK once again in national lockdown there was always going to be a need for extra support for employers and staff where businesses are forced to close. The extension of the furlough scheme and increased support for the self-employed will be invaluable in these uncertain times and we welcome the forward planning beyond December to provide some security to people and businesses alike.

“The extended support for the self-employed is a highly welcome move. This section of the UK’s workforce has been significantly hard-hit since the first lockdown was announced.

“However, as we’ve highlighted since the first lockdown was announced, confusion as to the exact support available and delayed responses have impacted staffing companies across the country, leading to jobs lost and, in some cases, businesses placed in difficulty. We recognise that in these unprecedented times support packages need to adapt as circumstances evolve, but the lack of clarity and last-minute changes over recent months has led to many of our members facing unnecessary resourcing decisions.”

Responding to the Government decision to continue the furlough scheme to end of March, Peter Cheese, CIPD chief executive, commented:

 “Employers have been left confused by the Government’s plans to protect jobs over the last few weeks, with many redundancies triggered over the uncertainty around the end of the furlough scheme and the introduction of two new Job Support Schemes.

“We are pleased the Government has put in place more certainty by extending the furlough scheme until March so employers in the worst hit sectors have more time to plan ahead, but also to help minimise redundancies over the difficult winter period.

“Employers across the UK understand the furlough scheme, which supports short-term working. It can be tweaked to reduce the level of Government subsidy when appropriate if restrictions are eased or to increase conditionality so furlough support only goes to firms that need it. Any changes to the furlough extension should be communicated to businesses in good time.

“Jobs have already been lost unnecessarily through short-term thinking because of the lack of longer term certainty of support, and it is crucial policy makers try and look further ahead and work with employers to help them plan forwards and protect employment as much as possible.

“We would also urge government to provide more support for those people who do lose their jobs with funding for training, coaching and support to find alternative work.”

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