Breaking News
Investing Pro 0
New Year’s SALE: Up to 40% OFF InvestingPro+ CLAIM OFFER

One in four UK firms plan to fire staff if furlough ends soon: BCC

Economy Feb 18, 2021 05:35AM ET
Saved. See Saved Items.
This article has already been saved in your Saved Items
 
© Reuters. FILE PHOTO: Canary Wharf stands in London

By David Milliken

LONDON (Reuters) - A quarter of British businesses expect to fire staff if finance minister Rishi Sunak does not extend a job furlough programme that is due to expire at the end of April, the British Chambers of Commerce said on Thursday.

Sunak is due to deliver his annual budget on March 3 and has promised to provide more support for jobs hit by the coronavirus pandemic. But he is also mindful that COVID-related spending has already pushed Britain's budget deficit to its highest since World War Two.

Britain entered a third national lockdown last month, which forced schools and most businesses to close their doors to the public, although staff can continue to work on site if there is no good alternative.

Official data released on Thursday showed 20% of private-sector employees were currently furloughed as of Feb. 11, up from 18% two weeks earlier, though below the 30% who were on leave during the first lockdown.

The furlough programme cost 46 billion pounds ($64 billion) up to mid-December - the government's most expensive single economic support measure.

While new coronavirus infections have fallen by more than three quarters since a peak at the turn of the year, the government remains concerned about the risk posed by new variants of the disease and has not yet eased lockdown rules.

Most staff worked entirely from home last week, in line with government guidance to avoid workplaces where possible.

The BCC said 61% of firms had suffered a fall in sales since October, based on a survey of 1,115 of its members carried out between Jan. 18 and Jan. 31, and ONS data shows spending on credit and debit cards is about 28% lower than a year ago.

Cashflow was a major worry for businesses, the BCC said. Just under a quarter of businesses said that they only had enough money to keep operating for a further three months.

Some 25% of businesses said they would need to make staff redundant if the furlough programme and loan support is not extended, and 25% also said they would cut staff hours in that situation.

"It is vital that the UK government keeps financial support going until firms can reopen and rebuild," BCC Director General Adam Marshall said. "Pulling the plug now would be a huge mistake, and would be akin to writing off the billions already spent helping firms to survive."

The Resolution Foundation think tank, in a report being launched on Thursday, said nearly 2 million British people had either been unemployed or fully on furlough for at least six months.

The report said Sunak should begin to phase the programme out at the budget and take a more sector-specific approach, priotising support for sectors such as hospitality and leisure which remain hard hit by the lockdown.

($1 = 0.7219 pounds)

One in four UK firms plan to fire staff if furlough ends soon: BCC
 

Related Articles

Add a Comment

Comment Guidelines

We encourage you to use comments to engage with other users, share your perspective and ask questions of authors and each other. However, in order to maintain the high level of discourse we’ve all come to value and expect, please keep the following criteria in mind:  

  •            Enrich the conversation, don’t trash it.

  •           Stay focused and on track. Only post material that’s relevant to the topic being discussed. 

  •           Be respectful. Even negative opinions can be framed positively and diplomatically. Avoid profanity, slander or personal attacks directed at an author or another user. Racism, sexism and other forms of discrimination will not be tolerated.

  • Use standard writing style. Include punctuation and upper and lower cases. Comments that are written in all caps and contain excessive use of symbols will be removed.
  • NOTE: Spam and/or promotional messages and comments containing links will be removed. Phone numbers, email addresses, links to personal or business websites, Skype/Telegram/WhatsApp etc. addresses (including links to groups) will also be removed; self-promotional material or business-related solicitations or PR (ie, contact me for signals/advice etc.), and/or any other comment that contains personal contact specifcs or advertising will be removed as well. In addition, any of the above-mentioned violations may result in suspension of your account.
  • Doxxing. We do not allow any sharing of private or personal contact or other information about any individual or organization. This will result in immediate suspension of the commentor and his or her account.
  • Don’t monopolize the conversation. We appreciate passion and conviction, but we also strongly believe in giving everyone a chance to air their point of view. Therefore, in addition to civil interaction, we expect commenters to offer their opinions succinctly and thoughtfully, but not so repeatedly that others are annoyed or offended. If we receive complaints about individuals who take over a thread or forum, we reserve the right to ban them from the site, without recourse.
  • Only English comments will be allowed.
  • Any comment you publish, together with your investing.com profile, will be public on investing.com and may be indexed and available through third party search engines, such as Google.

Perpetrators of spam or abuse will be deleted from the site and prohibited from future registration at Investing.com’s discretion.

Write your thoughts here
 
Are you sure you want to delete this chart?
 
Post
Post also to:
 
Replace the attached chart with a new chart ?
1000
Your ability to comment is currently suspended due to negative user reports. Your status will be reviewed by our moderators.
Please wait a minute before you try to comment again.
Thanks for your comment. Please note that all comments are pending until approved by our moderators. It may therefore take some time before it appears on our website.
 
Are you sure you want to delete this chart?
 
Post
 
Replace the attached chart with a new chart ?
1000
Your ability to comment is currently suspended due to negative user reports. Your status will be reviewed by our moderators.
Please wait a minute before you try to comment again.
Add Chart to Comment
Confirm Block

Are you sure you want to block %USER_NAME%?

By doing so, you and %USER_NAME% will not be able to see any of each other's Investing.com's posts.

%USER_NAME% was successfully added to your Block List

Since you’ve just unblocked this person, you must wait 48 hours before renewing the block.

Report this comment

I feel that this comment is:

Comment flagged

Thank You!

Your report has been sent to our moderators for review
Continue with Google
or
Sign up with Email