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East Midlands Chamber News

Chamber responds to furlough stats

New figures published by the Treasury show that businesses across the East Midlands have furloughed almost 560,000 employees under the Government’s Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme.

The figures, which cover the period from the scheme’s launch in April to 31 May, show that Derbyshire firms furloughed 96,100 jobs, while in Nottinghamshire, the figure was 93,300 and in Leicestershire, it was 87,300. The figures for the three cities stood at 28,500 in Derby, 33,000 in Nottingham, and 42,400 in Leicester.

Scott Knowles, Chief Executive of East Midlands Chamber (Derbyshire, Nottinghamshire, Leicestershire), said: “The figures make clear the sheer scale of financial support the Government has provided to support jobs since the start of the coronavirus pandemic and highlights the number of individuals affected.

“Taken together with today’s figures showing a 20.4% drop in GDP for April, the scale of the challenge to the UK and local economy is becoming clear. It is essential that Government works with the private sector to produce a clear and sensible strategy for safely restarting the economy.

“While the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme has helped thousands of businesses across the East Midlands to avoid immediate redundancies, it must now be adapted to help affected firms keep as many of these jobs as possible as they reconfigure their operations to meet social distancing guidelines and start job of rebuilding the economy.

“Restarting the economy and getting employees back to work as quickly as possible is the best way of sustaining jobs and livelihoods over the longer-term, so transitioning workers out of furlough and back into the workplace is an essential next step. However, the scheme must become more flexible if it is to help companies bring employees back to work safely and successfully.”

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