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Yorkshire Times
Voice of the North
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8:57 AM 12th May 2020

Business Reaction To Sunak Announcement On Extension Of The Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme

Commenting on the Chancellor’s announcement that the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme will be extended to October, BCC Director-General Adam Marshall said:

“The extension of the Job Retention Scheme will come as a huge help and a huge relief for businesses across the UK.

“The Chancellor is once again listening to what we’ve been saying, and the changes planned will help businesses bring their people back to work through the introduction of a part-time furlough scheme. We will engage with the Treasury and HMRC on the detail to ensure that this gives companies the flexibility they need to reopen safely.

“Our research shows that the scheme has become a key part of wider government support for businesses, with more than 70 per cent of firms surveyed furloughing a portion of their staff.

“Over the coming months, the government should continue to listen to business and evolve the scheme in line with what’s happening on the ground. Further support may yet be needed for companies who are unable to operate for an extended period, or those who face reduced capacity or demand due to ongoing restrictions.”

Dame Carolyn Fairbairn, CBI Director-General, said:

“The Chancellor is confronting a challenging balancing act deftly. As economic activity slowly speeds up, it’s essential that support schemes adapt in parallel.

“Extending the furlough to avoid a June cliff-edge continues the significant efforts made already and will protect millions of jobs.

“Introducing much needed flexibility is extremely welcome. It will prepare the ground for firms that are reawakening, while helping those who remain in hibernation. That’s essential as the UK economy revives step-by-step, while supporting livelihoods.

“Firms will, of course, want more detail on how they will contribute to the scheme in the future and will work with Government to get this right.

“Above all, the path of the virus is unpredictable, and much change still lies ahead. The Government must continue to keep a watchful eye on those industries and employees that remain at risk. All schemes will need to be kept under review to help minimise impacts on people’s livelihoods and keep businesses thriving.

“The greater the number of good businesses saved now, the easier it will be for the economy to recover.”