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Treasury discusses options

Sunak looking at salary top-up scheme to support jobs

Rishi Sunak

Rishi Sunak: considering options

Chancellor Rishi Sunak is considering a “salary top-up” to help businesses and workers when the current furlough scheme expires at the end of October.

This would be similar to those already operated by governments in France and Germany and favoured by the Labour party, the CBI and TUC.

It would allow firms to bring back or retain workers on reduced hours, with the government paying part the remainder of their wages.

The German “Kurzarbeit” scheme and France’s “chômage partiel” are believed to be the focus of Treasury attention as the UK government considers how to support businesses through the next few months and avoid a sharp spike in unemployment.

Both France and Germany have extended their schemes until the end of next year.

Bank of England governor Andrew Bailey called on the government to “stop and rethink” the furlough scheme, although he did not back any particular alternative.

Andrew Bailey Boe pic

Andrew Bailey: ‘stop and rethink’

Labour’s Job Recovery Scheme is similar to those examples by enabling businesses in key sectors to bring back staff on reduced hours with government backing wages for the rest of the working week.

Ed Miliband, Shadow Business Secretary, said the scheme would save jobs and give businesses the certainty they need.

“The Government must urgently outline today the measures they will take to prevent mass unemployment.

“They must not delay any further because businesses will be taking decisions in the coming days about what their response will be. They need to know that the government will stand behind them,” he said.



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