The government’s furlough scheme designed to help employers and employees during the coronavrius pandemic is ‘to be wound down’.
The scheme, which pays up to 80% of companies staff salaries, has been described as not ‘sustainable’ in the longer term by Chancellor Rishi Sunak.
This is because the cost of the scheme so far has been £8billion with 6.3 million workers having the majority of their pay from the government.
Speaking to ITV News, Mr Sunak said there would be no “cliff-edge” cut off to the furlough scheme, which was initially set up with a time frame until end of June.
He said that people would be eased back into work in a “measured way”.
The Chancellor said: “To anyone anxious about this, I want to reassure that there will be no cliff-edge to the furlough scheme.
“I’m working as we speak to figure out the most effective way to wind down the scheme and ease people back into work in a measured way.
“As some scenarios have suggested, we are potentially spending as much on the furlough scheme as we do on the NHS for example.
“Clearly, that is not a sustainable situation which is why, as soon as the time is right, we want to get people back to work and the economy fired up again.”
The coronavirus outbreak has left many people across Greater Manchester struggling for access to food, basics and other support. Many of them are self-isolating, often in fragile health and alone.
Public services have been working hard to find and help them, but we know they are over-stretched and working round the clock.
So the Manchester Evening News and the Greater Manchester Mayor’s Charity have launched Covaid-19 – a fundraiser aimed at supporting those who most need help, from elderly people with no support network to homeless families living in hotels.
The money will be distributed via the mayor of Greater Manchester’s charity.
You can donate by visiting our JustGiving page here.
HM Revenue & Customs say that 800,000 employers affected by the coronavirus pandemic making a claim under the Job Protection Scheme.
Official figures from the Office for National Statistics now show that people 23% of people in the labour force have now been furloughed.
According to the Liberal Democrats there should be a “tapered” end to the programme, with the Treasury paying 50% of salaries for the first month after people return to work, falling to 30% after the third month, with employers picking up the full bill after the fourth.
Sir Ed Davey, Acting leader, said: “The Government furlough scheme has done a good job at helping thousands of businesses through the lockdown, but the shadow of lockdown will be long, and the ‘new normal’ will be extremely challenging.
“Businesses and their staff need time to plan, and confidence the Government will be there, ready to support.”
The latest news comes as the Prime Minister prepares to set out his “road map” to lead the UK out of lockdown.
This includes how Britons can safely return to work and getting the economy back up and running.