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Extension of the Job Retention Scheme will provide much needed support to Cumbrian businesses

The Government’s announcement that the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme will continue until October has been welcomed by the Business and Economic Response and Recovery Group (BERRG) of the Local Resilience Forum, the body responsible for developing the business and economy response to COVID-19.

Yesterday, Chancellor Rishi Sunak announced that the Job Retention Scheme will be extended until the end of October 2020, with the scheme remaining unchanged until the end of July and with furloughed workers continuing to receive 80 per cent of their current salary, up to £2,500 per month.

The Chancellor will consider changes to the scheme at the end of July, in order to provide greater flexibility including allowing firms to bring staff back to work such as part-time furloughing.

Jo Lappin, Chair of BERRG and Chief Executive of the Cumbria Local Enterprise Partnership, said: “The Job Retention Scheme has been one of the key measures introduced by government to support businesses during the COVID-19 pandemic.

“Nationally, there has been a significant take up with almost seven and a half million employees currently furloughed. Locally, we know that a significant number of businesses have made use of the Job Retention Scheme to furlough their staff until they are in a position to fully restart their business.  

“The Job Retention Scheme has been critical in helping our businesses to retain their workforce and this extension is therefore really welcome. I’m sure that businesses will welcome additional flexibilities, such as part-time furloughing, which will help them manage their workforce in line with business needs.

“In terms of these flexibilities, we will be asking for a more targeted approach to make sure that those sectors most adversely affected receive additional support.

“The more that we can all do to protect our businesses and our economy the better, as this will support our longer term economic recovery.”

The scheme will continue in its current form until the end of July and the changes to allow more flexibility will come in from the start of August. More specific details and information around its implementation will be made available by the end of this month.

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