Tag Archives: furlough

Sunak announces furlough scheme replacement. Is it any good?

After he served up this little howler – and pushed up Covid-19 infections massively, Rishi Sunak needs to make a good impression with his plan to replace the furlough scheme for jobs affected by Covid-19. Has he managed it?

Tory Chancellor Rishi Sunak has announced a new “job support scheme” to replace the “furlough” programme he has been running since lockdown began in March.

This new scheme will run for another six months until the end of April 2021.

What is it?

A six-month scheme starting on November 1.

To be eligible, employees must work a minimum of 33 per cent of their normal hours.

For the remaining hours not worked, the government and employer pay one-third of the wages each.

So employees working 33 per cent of their hours will receive at least 77 per cent of their pay.

Where will employers get the extra money?

According to BBC News:

Sunak announced a “pay as you grow” scheme for businesses which took government guaranteed loans during the crisis.

“Loans can now be extended from six to ten years nearly halving the average monthly repayment,” he said.

They can also move to interest only payments or suspend payments if they are “in real trouble” for up to six months.

He said no credit rating will be affected.

Coronavirus Business Interruption Loans will also be extended for up to 10 years.

There will also be a new loan scheme in January, the chancellor says.

He is also extending the scheme for self-employment on “similar terms” to the existing job support scheme.

The scheme is mainly for small and medium-sized firms. Only large firms that can prove they have been harmed by Covid will be eligible for the Job Support Scheme.

What about VAT?

Sunak is also cancelling the planned increase of VAT from five per cent to 20 per cent, which was due to come into effect in January.

Instead, the lower rate of five per cent will remain until 31 March next year.

Viable jobs?

Sunak said the new scheme is intended to support “viable” jobs only – and that should ring alarm bells:

Of course – Tories being Tories – certain extremely rich people are enjoying the continuation of their own subsidies at the same level:

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Why does Sunak have billions for dormant companies, but not a penny to safeguard our jobs?

Rishi Sunak: he doesn’t want to save UK jobs. Meanwhile his government is funnelling billions into companies run by friends of the Tories – who can’t deliver what they promise.

Tory Chancellor Rishi Sunak has again been urged to extend the furlough scheme that safeguards huge numbers of UK jobs during the Covid crisis – a scheme he is adamant will end on October 31.

The Commons Treasury select committee has urged him to renew support for sectors of the economy that are still suffering because of the pandemic, saying the alternative is mass unemployment and an end to viable firms.

But you can probably see the problem Sunak has in the committee’s own words:

“Effectively targeted assistance to those who need it is important,” the committee says in an 84-page report, ‘Economic impact of coronavirus : the challenges of recovery’.

“The Chancellor should carefully consider whether a targeted extension of the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme and/or other targeted support measures might be required and explain his conclusions.”

The problem is that the UK’s current Tory government hasn’t yet had a target that it could hit.

Meanwhile…

Yes, we deserve far better. But we’re not going to get it.

Source: Coronavirus furlough ‘must be extended’ to avoid mass unemployment from October 31 – Mirror Online

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Distraction tactics: why pay attention to all this right-wing fiddling while your country burns?

Jeremy Corbyn: it’s nice that a Twitter poll has rated him the best prime minister the UK never had, but the PM that we’ve got is turning the UK into a major disaster and this stuff is nothing more than an attempt to distract you. Did it work?

We all know bank holiday Mondays are where the news goes to die but August 2020 was particularly bad.

Judging by Twitter, the event that caught everybody’s imagination was a poll by right-wing Times Radio that resulted in a nobody presenter – This Writer has never heard of him – having to declare that Jeremy Corbyn is the best prime minister the UK never had.

(It means he would have been a better choice, not only than Boris Johnson or Theresa May, but better than many others as well – according to those who took part in the poll.)

Certain right-whingers immediately took it upon themselves to alleged – without any factual basis – that Corbynista Twitter users had ganged up to rig the poll.

Who cares?

It doesn’t matter. We didn’t get Corbyn. We got Theresa May in 2017 and Boris Johnson now – partly because Labour apparatchiks conspired to bugger up Corbyn’s campaigns on one or both occasions, if you believe a certain report (I do).

And it diverts attention from the failures of the government we have – especially at a time when Parliament is about to resume sitting after the summer recess.

The Guardian‘s editorial has identified a few of the political crises from which the poll has diverted our attention. For example:

Rishi Sunak is determined to end his Job Retention Scheme – the furlough to you and me – at the end of October, triggering a huge wave of unemployment. That’s right, even more people are about to learn what Universal Credit is all about – and they’re not going to like it.

He’s facing an annual national deficit that will have grown to twice the amount faced by Gordon Brown’s Labour government during the so-called “great recession” of 2008 or thereabouts. His party made a lot of mileage out of criticising Labour’s handling of that recession, slithering back into office by claiming it would end deficit spending and cut the national debt as well (instead the Tories more than doubled the debt to £2 trillion).

And in November Sunak has to produce a budget that will boost the economy and return the national finances to some semblance of balance (fat chance! He’s already facing a backbench rebellion on his mooted plans for tax rises).

Nobody’s going back to work because they don’t trust the government’s proclamations that it is safe from Covid-19. Nobody is likely to go back to universities for the same reason. The only people likely to want to go back to school are the kids – and that’s because they’re probably a bit bored by now and want to see their buddies again.

The Johnson government’s determination to push through Brexit as planned by December 31 means the party that pledged to end the scourge of “red tape” is more likely to throttle us with it, as businesses have to deal with an avalanche of pointless bureaucracy.

These are all problems that the Tories have created for the rest of us, either by incompetence or by design, since they first came back into power in 2010 – and most particularly since Boris Johnson became prime minister last year.

You need to be thinking about that, but instead you’re being seduced into thinking about a dopey Twitter poll that doesn’t mean anything at all.

You’re watching the right-wingers fiddling around while your country burns around you.

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Covid-19: Two-thirds of poorest workers have lost jobs or been furloughed

Some political stories are very straightforward, and don’t need any explanation or debate. This appears to be one of them:

Nearly two thirds of the poorest workers have been furloughed, lost their job or had their hours or pay reduced during the pandemic, new research suggests.

Analysis from the Social Metrics Commission found 65% of workers deemed in “deep poverty” – living on less than half of what they need to stay above the poverty line – have suffered a negative hit to their livelihoods.

This compares to 35% of employed adults living more than 20% above the poverty line prior to the crisis.

The report warned that many people living in poverty could see their situation worsen, while those close to the poverty line risk falling below it due to changes to their employment prospects.

It comes as big firms cut 4,500 jobs in the first two working days of August as the Government’s furlough scheme begins to wind down.

A fifth of employees in deep poverty before coronavirus said they had since lost their jobs, compared to 7% of adults more than 20% above the poverty line.

More than a third (36%) of people at least 50% below the poverty line had been affected, compared to 22% of those more than 20% above the poverty line.

Workers from black, Asian and minority ethnic background were more affected than white people, with 10% of BAME workers hit compared to 8% of their white peers.

More than half (56%) of 18-to-24-year-olds working prior to the pandemic have experienced some kind of negative impact on their employment, compared to roughly a third of 25-to-54-year-olds previously working.

Younger people were also more than twice as likely to say they had been lonely during the pandemic than those over the age of 65.

These outcomes are not caused by Covid-19.

They have been caused by Tories. Remember that.

Source: Two thirds of poorest workers have lost jobs or been furloughed during coronavirus – Mirror Online

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More than 600,000 jobs lost – so 45 fat cats can increase their wealth by £25 billion?

Loadsamoney: and Boris Johnson has been spaffing it up the wall on furlough schemes so his big business pals can make a killing from Covid-19, it seems.

Covid-19 has had remarkably divergent effects on people, depending on their status in our society.

At the bottom, more than 600,000 people have lost their jobs:

The number of paid employees in the UK fell by 449,000 between March and April 2020 and early estimates suggest that a further 163,000 people lost their jobs in April.

It is believed that this number would have been much higher if not for the Government’s furlough scheme, and other support measures introduced to help businesses.

But with this scheme due to be wound down from August, it is feared that the UK could yet see a second spike in job losses and a subsequent rise in unemployment.

The data also shows a significant drop in median pay and recent wage growth has been reversed. Early estimates for May suggest that median monthly pay fell by 1.8% to £1,778 and the rate of growth in median pay became negative in April, falling to minus 0.75%.

So more people are unemployed and those who have kept their jobs have endured a drop in pay.

Meanwhile, at the top:

Britain’s billionaires have seen their fortunes soar by £25bn during the coronavirus lockdown – while some are criticised for using millions of pounds of taxpayers’ cash to pay wages of the staff in their companies.

New analysis shows 45 of the richest in the UK have seen their Covid-19 pandemic wealth snowballing by 20%.

Analysis shows the collective wealth of Britain’s richest since five days before the coronavirus lockdown at the end of March has risen from £121.57bn to £146.61bn.

It comes as Britain’s economy shrank by a record 20.4% in April as the first full month of the coronavirus lockdown triggered an economic crash three times greater than the 2008 financial crisis.

It seems the secret of their success is to have multiple business interests – and to take advantage of the government’s furlough scheme to get taxpayers to subsidise their payrolls.

The biggest winner, according to a study of Forbes data tracking billionaire wealth, is James Ratcliffe. He’s founder, chairman and majority owner of chemical giant Ineos, with wide North Sea energy interests.

Mr Ratcliffe’s net worth has risen from £8.75bn to £13.83bn. He has taken advantage of the government scheme to furlough almost 800 members of staff from his luxury hotel groups Home Grown and Lime Wood.

Under the scheme the State covers up to 80 per cent of the salaries of staff if companies keep them on the payroll. The payments are capped at £2,500 a month for each employee.

So he continues coining it from his energy firm, with lower outgoings because public money is funding his hotel staff.

Was this the intention?

It’s a valid question.

We were told the furlough scheme was to protect businesses and jobs, and that they would go to the wall without it.

But we see that the people behind the biggest businesses – who are therefore taking the most advantage of the furlough scheme – are raking in astronomical amounts of money.

Meanwhile the rest of us go without, and the national Treasury is emptied, meaning the poorest of us (again) will be told to pay more for the services the richest of us have received.

It’s wrong.

Nobody should be profiting from a pandemic that has killed nearly 70,000 people.

Perhaps Marcus Rashford should start campaigning for a windfall tax on the UK’s super-rich?

Source: Over 600,000 jobs lost to COVID-19 as Labour calls for an urgent ‘Back To Work’ budget – Welfare Weekly

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Sunak wants employers to pay a quarter of furloughed staff wages from August

Rishi Sunak: is he opening the door for employers to exploit their staff?

Funny how this story comes out when everybody’s talking about Dominic Cummings instead, isn’t it?

This Writer has said before that employers won’t pay – most probably because they can’t afford it.

But here’s a thought. Will employees go back to their old jobs, after being callously laid off over coronavirus?

And if they will, will employers try to get them to do it for lower pay?

I think it’s a definite possibility.

Employers will be expected to pay at least a fifth of the wages of furloughed staff from August, it is claimed.

The Treasury is said to be considering asking businesses to cover between 20% and 30% of staff wages.

Companies may also be told to cough up for national insurance contributions, which are approximately 5% of people’s wages, according to The Times.

Source: Employers may have to pay 25% of furloughed staff wages from August | Metro News

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Will employers be able to pay Sunak’s furlough demand?

Rishi Sunak: his plans for his furlough scheme are optimistic, to say the least.

These people are mistaken:

But they’re not very far off the mark!

Tory Chancellor Rishi Sunak had said that he would make an announcement about the furlough scheme – in which the government pays 80 per cent of employees’ wages while they are unable to work, in exchange for employers agreeing not to end their contracts – today, May 12.

And he had been expected to say that the government could no longer pay that proportion of wages and would be reducing it to 60 per cent.

Something stopped him.

Was it the argument that John McDonnell put forward – that on top of Boris Johnson’s plan to ease the lockdown, announced on Sunday, this would be an obvious attempt to starve employees back into work, even though they would probably catch the coronavirus there?

Was it the point that many employees simply cannot go back, because their jobs are still not considered safe enough – by the government itself?

Was it the suggestion that cutting down the amount furloughed workers are being paid would turn the coronavirus crisis into the UK’s worst disaster in a century – made that way by the Tories and on their watch?

It won’t have been the thought of tipping more people into poverty; Tories have no problem with that at all.

In This Writer’s view, he was probably persuaded by the thought that too many employees would be adversely affected – and would make this clear in no uncertain terms. Tories are constantly concerned about public relations.

So instead, he has extended the 80 per cent wage payment subsidy to August, with a demand that the government contribution will be reduced from that date and employers will pay into it as well.

He has said nothing about how large the employer contribution will be – meaning all he has done is added more uncertainty to the coronavirus crisis.

And where are the employers going to get the money?

Sure, Sunak said employers would be able to bring furloughed workers back part-time by then – but he cannot guarantee that.

Indeed, considering the lunacy that followed Boris Johnson’s announcement that some people should go back to work from yesterday (May 11), it seems likely that the UK will be well into its second wave of coronavirus infections by then.

And employers have been paying the overheads on property, equipment and so on, for months.

It seems Mr Sunak has made a few highly-optimistic assumptions.

Won’t it be humiliating for this Tory Chancellor if he turns out to have got his sums wrong?

  • I’d like to hear from employers: what do you think of Rishi Sunak’s declaration?

Source: UK furlough scheme extended by four months – BBC News

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