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Anxious wait for local businesses


LOCAL businesses are anxious that the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme, otherwise known as furlough, could be coming to an end.

Scott Balcony, owner of local business Balcony Shirts, in Windsor Street, Uxbridge, voiced concern that furlough would end before business went back to normal saying: “We’ve got people on furlough, when that comes to an end it has got to go ‘click’ back to normal, I think that’s unlikely. So that’s the worry.”

The furlough scheme, which pays workers of shuttered businesses 80% of their salary, is scheduled to end April 30th.

Although non-essential retail and some hospitality shops will be allowed to open on April 12, a number of businesses will remain closed until restrictions are completely lifted June 21. Businesses continue to rely heavily on the furlough scheme.

Jas Johal of Kudos Music, Uxbridge, said: “Before the pandemic I had 43 staff, now with redundancies and people finding other jobs I have 23, most of those on furlough.”

In January, the scheme supported 4.7 million jobs, an increase from 4 million jobs in December. Nearly one in four UK workers have been on furlough in the year 2020.

Chancellor of the Exchequer, Rishi Sunak, is set to announce the yearly budget next week on March 3.

His main concern will be developing a plan for the UK to pay off debt incurred during the pandemic while continuing to support those sectors of the economy hit hardest by the coronavirus restrictions.

As of December 13, the furlough scheme alone had cost the Government £46 billion.

Although the Government has not revealed its plans for the relief scheme, it has been reported by several media outlets that some form of furlough could be extended until July.

In a video released on twitter, Chancellor Sunak said: “We are hellbent on trying to protect as many jobs as possible and expect more from me on that.”

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