Extend furlough scheme to summer, warns BCC

The British Chambers of Commerce (BCC) has called on the Government to keep the coronavirus job retention scheme running into summer.

The news comes as HMRC reported around four million UK workers were furloughed at the end of December, as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic.

The scheme, which is due to end in April 2021, has helped to decrease the number of redundancies that would have been brought on by the coronavirus pandemic.

Hannah Essex, BCC co-executive director, said further action needs to be taken to avoid “a damaging cliff edge for jobs and livelihoods after the scheme ends”.

She said:

“The Government must learn lessons from last October, where the delay in extending the scheme at a time of tightening restrictions helped drive redundancies to a record high.

“Therefore, ministers should commit immediately to keeping the furlough scheme in place until a full opening of the economy is possible and at least until the end of July 2021.

“Only with certainty on the future of Government support can businesses communities plan ahead and look to restart, rebuild and renew.”

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