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BCC comments on changes to furlough scheme

The Chancellor announced firms would be able to bring workers back from furlough part-time from July 1 and pay them for the hours worked. Employers would have to pay National Insurance and pension costs for furloughed staff from August, then from September they would have to pay 10% of furloughed staff wages and 20% from October. The scheme would cease at the end of October. The Chancellor also confirmed that if employers would not contribute to furlough, the Government would not pay either.

A similar scheme for the self-employed – The Self-Employment Income Support Scheme – was extended until August, capped at a maximum payment of £6,570.

British Chambers of Commerce Director General, Adam Marshall, said: “The Chancellor has listened to business communities and struck a careful balance that will help many firms bring furloughed staff back to work flexibly over the coming months.

“The gradual reduction in furlough contributions from the Treasury will give businesses additional time to rebuild their income streams and cash flows, and the decision to give businesses maximum flexibility to bring people back part-time will be appreciated.”

“The furlough scheme has helped companies preserve millions of jobs through lockdown, but many firms still face significant uncertainty ahead. On that basis, closing the scheme to new applicants in June feels premature, and risks undermining some of the work already done to preserve businesses and jobs.

“Over the coming months, government will need to be open to providing new and additional support for businesses and staff who are unable to get back to work for an extended period, especially in sectors of the economy facing reduced capacity or demand due to ongoing restrictions.”

On extended support for the self-employed, Dr Marshall added: “The extension of support for the self-employed will come as welcome relief for those who have seen their livelihoods impacted by the virus. It is right that this group continues to receive similar levels of support to those on PAYE.”


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