Furlough extension is welcome, but delay has cost thousands of jobs

5 November 2020

Prospect has welcomed the decision of the Chancellor of the Exchequer to extend the Job Retention (Furlough) Scheme and SEISS schemes, but have criticised the delays in confirming this support which have cost thousands of jobs.

Chancellor Rishi Sunak announced on 5th November that the furlough scheme would be extended until March at the 80% level, having insisted for months that they would end before the winter to be replaced by the less generous Job Support Scheme. The next round of the SEISS scheme which covers the period until January will also continue at 80%.

Prospect General Secretary Mike Clancy said:

“The Chancellor is right that businesses need certainty and security, which is why the confusion and uncertainty caused by his constant redrafting of the rules on economic support over the winter has been so damaging.

“The extensions of the furlough and the self-employed income support scheme are welcome, but the months of insisting that this support was ending has cost thousands of jobs which will plunge people into economic hardship that was totally avoidable.

“Finally, with support now extending for an entire year since the initial lockdown, the exclusion of three million self-employed and freelance workers from any economic support is even more unjustifiable than it was back in March. People must not face a winter with no support due to arbitrary cut-offs that were conceived when we had no idea how long this crisis would last, the government urgently needs to review the rules and make sure that all workers are covered by these schemes.”