The Job Retention Scheme, otherwise known as the Furlough Scheme, was announced on March 23 to mitigate what would otherwise have been very significant and widespread unemployment resulting from the severe restrictions on businesses designed to control the spread of Covid 19.
The start of that scheme seems like a long time ago now, but it was always intended to be a temporary measure. Indeed it could only have been so, given its very high ongoing cost.
On the other hand, given the need to continue restricting some forms of economic activity as the virus remains very much with us, some form of ongoing support for the businesses most affected is both necessary and appropriate.
That is why last week the chancellor of the exchequer announced a successor scheme – the Job Support Scheme. Like its predecessor, this scheme has gaps, and it asks more of employers. The chancellor has been frank that it will not save every job or every business, nor could it, but it is still worth recognising that it will constitute another huge intervention by the taxpayer to preserve jobs. Those it covers, including those who have not made use of the Furlough Scheme, may still find themselves working substantially fewer hours than they used to, but if they are earning less than £38,000 a year they will receive at least 75 per cent of their income. Alongside this scheme are further measures to make the repayment of loans or the payment of taxes easier, which will benefit more businesses.
Of course so much of the help made available and made use of during this period of outbreak, restriction and hardship has come from volunteers and from charities. We owe them all our profound thanks. For many, they were already offering help and support to those in need in our community, but have stepped up or adapted what they do to respond to what the coronavirus outbreak has brought with it. Take for example the Parenting Project, newly based in Kenilworth and with whose team I had the pleasure of speaking last week. The Parenting Project offers support to families, primarily in the form of mentoring and counselling, including those under particular stress due to covid 19 and its consequences. Perhaps they can help you, or perhaps you can help them. If you would like to learn more about the Parenting Project, to access their services or help to provide them, please make contact at [email protected]
As ever, you can contact me at [email protected].