250,000 viable jobs at risk as furlough scheme winds down

Hundreds of thousands of viable jobs will be put at risk when the furlough scheme ends as workers in industries where voluntary restrictions persist lose the support, analysis by the New Economics Foundation suggests. Read more: 250,000 viable jobs at risk as furlough scheme winds down

250,000 viable jobs at risk as furlough scheme winds down

Hundreds of thousands of viable jobs will be put at risk when the furlough scheme ends as workers in industries where voluntary restrictions persist lose the support, analysis by the New Economics Foundation suggests.

Employers must now pay 20 per cent of the wages covered by furlough, up to a maximum of £625 a month, to admit staff to the scheme as the staged withdrawal continues. Furlough is due to be removed completely from the start of October.

The foundation, a think tank, said that yesterday’s changes would threaten 250,000 jobs as the 20 per cent contribution “will not be cost-effective” for some employers. When the scheme ends, 660,000 workers will still need support because many industries, such as travel, transport, arts and hospitality, may not be able to return to normal despite the removal of official restrictions.

Alex Chapman, senior researcher at the foundation, said: “The current end date for the furlough scheme is arbitrary and can cause unnecessary harm to thousands of workers.

“Our analysis highlights that demand will remain suppressed because of voluntary measures that the public will take in response to the uncertainty around the Delta variant.”

The findings echo a survey by the British Chambers of Commerce (BCC) which found that one in five businesses planned to let staff go as a result of the new terms of engagement this month.

The Treasury is gradually making the scheme less generous to ease businesses back to normal and expects many jobs to be made redundant.

Furlough covered 80 per cent of salaries up to £2,500 a month between March last year and the end of June. Last month the taxpayers’ share dropped to 70 per cent and employers were asked to contribute 10 per cent. This month and next month the state will pay 60 per cent and the employer 20 per cent. At its peak, almost nine million jobs were furloughed and 1.9 million people were still on the scheme at the end of June, official figures show.

The foundation used modelling and forecasts for social mixing after lockdown ended on July 19 to estimate that 660,000 jobs would continue to be affected until the pandemic was under greater control. Its full estimate ranged from 450,000 to 1.1 million jobs.

The BCC warned that this month’s change would lead to the loss of thousands of jobs and called on ministers to ensure that those affected can retrain. The foundation called for people on furlough to use their subsidised hours for training.

The think tank said that the increase in employer contributions should be rolled back and furlough extended “until a realistic point where voluntary social distancing is likely to end”.

It also called for a permanent replacement short-time work scheme to respond to future economic shocks. The foundation said this would “bring the UK into line with other European nations”. Germany had a furlough-type scheme long before the pandemic which is widely thought to have prevented a sharp rise in unemployment after the 2008 financial crisis.

Workers older than 50, who account for a third of those on furlough, are among the most vulnerable.

Stuart Lewis, founder of Rest Less, which advocates for older people, said that the end of the scheme would “deliver another blow to workers in their 50s and 60s”.

The Treasury wants to unwind the scheme gradually to ease the transition for employers. It also fears that the scheme is making it hard for employers to find staff and driving up wages.

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250,000 viable jobs at risk as furlough scheme winds down

Source : Business Matters More   

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Rollout of booster shots for 32m starts next month

Booster jabs are to be offered to 32 million people as early as next month to protect the most vulnerable before winter, it was reported last night. Read more: Rollout of booster shots for 32m starts next month

Rollout of booster shots for 32m starts next month

Booster jabs are to be offered to 32 million people as early as next month to protect the most vulnerable before winter, it was reported last night.

Up to 2,000 pharmacies will run the programme so that the NHS can focus on the 5.3 million patients caught in a backlog of treatments.

Ministers aim to deliver an average of almost 2.5 million third doses a week, starting from September, The Daily Telegraph reported. The highest number of doses in one day so far was 873,784 on March 20 this year.

Adults aged 50 and over, as well as those who are immunosuppressed, will be offered the extra doses from as early as Monday September 6, which could allow for the programme to be completed by early December.

Proposals have been drawn up for it to be given with the flu shot. The idea of an injection in each arm was floated.

A government source said that the proposal “depends on final JCVI [Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation] advice and coronavirus vaccine booster trials”.

Seven vaccines are being tested, with Pfizer-BioNTech and Moderna’s mRNA technology as well as Novavax, which uses a subunit protein, showing positive results in preliminary data, it is understood.

An NHS spokesman said: “Community pharmacies have been an important part of the Covid vaccination programme, the biggest and most successful in the health service’s history, and they will continue to play a vital role.”

The proposal comes as more patients are paying for life-saving private surgery, including £20,000 heart operations, because NHS waiting lists are so long.

Private medical providers say that the demand for “self-funded” surgery has increased dramatically since the start of the pandemic as a record number of people, including 4,000 patients who have been waiting for two years, join the backlog for treatment.

Britain’s largest private hospital group, HCA Healthcare, said that there had been an increase in “higher acuity care” during the pandemic, including a 20 per cent increase in “self-funded cardiothoracic inpatient procedures”, The Daily Mail reported. This includes operations such as a heart bypass, which can cost £17,500.

Health officials fear that the backlog could grow to 13 million as more patients come forward.

Read more:
Rollout of booster shots for 32m starts next month

Source : Business Matters More   

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