Business, News | Rhys Williams | Published: 13:58, Wednesday August 12th, 2020.
Last updated: 13:58, Wednesday August 12th, 2020
The policy chair of the Federation of Small Businesses (FSB) Wales has called for an extension of the furlough scheme to be considered.
Ben Francis voiced his concerns after figures from the Office for National Statistics showed an estimated 730,000 fewer employees on payrolls across the UK than in March of this year.
Figures also show the number of self-employed workers dropping by a record 238,000 between the first and second quarters of the year.
In April, the UK Government launched the Job Retention Scheme, which allowed businesses to claim up to £2,500 a month towards staff wages.
However, this is set to come to an end in October.
Mr Francis said: “The success of the Job Retention Scheme has kept Wales’ employment figures healthy over the past few months but reality is now starting to hit home.
“As our economy unlocks, many thousands of people will be looking for work over the next year. That’s why a focus on job creation – not just retention – is so critical.”
Mr Francis also called for the Job Retention Scheme, commonly referred to as furlough, to be “reviewed closely”.
He said: “The option of a meaningful extension to the furloughing initiative should be kept open, especially now local lockdowns are a fact of life in England and a meaningful second spike in coronavirus infections is possible.
“That makes a ready-to-go plan on local lockdowns in Wales even more essential, to help protect the firms that have already been pushed to their limits by the long lockdown earlier this year.”
Mr Francis also called on the UK Government to deliver the “most pro-business, pro-self-employed budget ever this autumn, one that lowers the costs of innovating and bringing great goods and services to market and eschews tax rises”.
Meanwhile, he called on political parties in Wales to put the economic recovery “front and centre of their priorities for the next Welsh Government after the elections in May 2021”.
Prime Minister Boris Johnson has warned that the UK has a “long, long way to go” and there are going to be “bumpy months ahead”.
Chancellor Rishi Sunak said government measures were working to “safeguard millions of jobs and livelihoods that could otherwise have been lost”.
Stay informed with quality, independent, local journalism…that matters For the last ten years, Caerphilly Observer has provided an award-winning, balanced, and independent news service to the people of Caerphilly County Borough.
We believe the public should be informed about their community, coherently and with context. However, running a professional news service comes at a financial cost.
We are asking readers for their support to help us develop and grow our service.
Our membership costs from just £3 a month and in return, you can use our website without adverts.