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End the furlough scheme but shift the focus to individuals, and new jobs

First published: 23/09/2020

There’s no question that the government’s Job Retention, aka furlough, scheme helped to prop up firms, businesses and the labour market during the biggest economic contraction we have ever seen. According to the Treasury, as of the middle of August, £39.3 billion of public funding had been paid to roughly 1.2 million employers to support 9.6 million furloughed jobs. Yet, the Chancellor is set to end the already extended scheme at the end of October. 

Many have joined the debate as to whether he should, arguing that unemployment could soar this winter if he did. Yet, as with so many Covid-related issues, the case for extending the scheme is contentious. The Chancellor’s business now should be about helping people whose jobs may never return, not paying firms to preserve those jobs. Read on…..