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East Midlands Chamber News

Furlough extension to March 2021 welcomed by East Midlands Chamber - but businesses need more help

Responding to the Chancellor’s announcement that the Job Retention Scheme will continue until the end of March 2021, East Midlands Chamber (Derbyshire, Nottinghamshire, Leicestershire) chief executive Scott Knowles said: “We welcome the Government’s decision to extend the furlough scheme until March and offer more generous grants for the self-employed, providing some form of certainty for businesses beyond the initial four weeks of national lockdown and protecting the jobs that would otherwise be viable if it wasn’t for the economic shutdown.

“These changes give businesses significant reassurance over an uncertain winter, but many will understandably still wish for the Government to give a clearer view of the road ahead over the next 12 months, rather than the stop-start approach taken by Westminster over the past eight months.

“It’s also important to note that this support is aimed at individuals, rather than businesses, and it’s crucial the Government comes up with an appropriate package to plug the income gap for affected businesses already facing a cashflow crisis. More generous grants will be required if businesses are to weather a difficult winter ahead.

“We sincerely hope that the furlough extension doesn’t pre-empt further extensions to national lockdown. Ultimately, there can be no substitute for a fully functioning economy and this means the Government must use the time afforded to it throughout November to significantly improve the test and trace system that remains key to keeping the economy open.”