Boris Johnson has said there will be no further extension to the government’s furlough scheme. His comments come despite a fresh wave of job losses across the country.
Ministers are facing calls to extend the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme (CJRS), following the announcement this week of thousands of lay-offs in the retail and aviation sectors. CJRS has protected more than 9 million jobs during the coronavirus (Covid-19) pandemic.
But in an interview with the Evening Standard, Johnson insisted it was not “healthy” for either the economy or the employees concerned to extend the scheme:
We’ve spent £120 billion supporting people, it’s a huge commitment…
But I think people need to recognise that the particular restrictions that furlough places on you are not, in the long term, healthy either for the economy or for you as an employee.
You are keeping people in suspended animation. You are stopping them from actually working. I am being absolutely frank with you, we are pushing it out until October but in the end you have got to get the economy moving.
Fresh wave of redundancies
The furlough scheme – which has seen the state pay up to 80% of the wages of eligible workers who would otherwise have been laid off – is due to begin unwinding from August 2020.
The prospect that firms will have to start contributing to the salaries of employees on CJRS has led to fears of a fresh wave of redundancies among businesses wanting to avoid the cost of paying employees.
Labour has called for the continuation of targeted assistance for sectors which have been particularly hard hit as a result of the pandemic.
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