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The Progressive Policy Think Tank

IPPR: Furlough extension gives business and workers some certainty this winter

Think tank welcomes extension but warns more support is needed for families and renters as tougher restrictions come into force

IPPR economist welcomes Chancellor’s statement but highlights areas where more support is still needed. The think tank had previously warned that two million viable jobs could be lost if the Job Retention Scheme was not extended or replaced.

Carsten Jung, IPPR Senior Economist, said:

“Businesses and workers are facing a period of unprecedented uncertainty. It’s unclear when new restrictions will be lifted, and the recovery is on hold. The extension of the furlough scheme till the end of March announced today can provide businesses and workers with the certainty they need to get through winter.  

“However, many families will still face great hardships. Some may even find themselves on the street as the ban on evictions has been lifted. To prevent this, the eviction ban should be immediately extended by six months. With unemployment on the rise, a targeted stimulus is also needed to get cash into family’s pockets during this challenging time. In particular, strengthening the social security system would make a life-changing difference to many of the poorest families. Sunak also needs to provide financial certainty for those who still face unemployment, despite this announcement.

“In November’s spending review the Chancellor should provide a sufficiently large stimulus to boost the economy and support people’s incomes and public services until a recovery has been achieved.

“There also remains uncertainty around the Job Retention Bonus payment, which the Chancellor has postponed. When he announces its return, it should be with an improved design. In its current form, it is poorly targeted and wasteful. Instead of a blanket one-off payment, the Job Retention Bonus should be reformed to work as a part-time work subsidy that incentivises firms to hold on to as many workers as possible on a part time basis. It should pay firms for a share of the wages that its employees earn working part-time, in addition to reimbursing workers for hours not worked.” 

ENDS

CONTACT

Robin Harvey, Digital and Media Officer: 07779 204798 [email protected]

Carsten Jung is available for interview

NOTES TO EDITORS

  1. The IPPR paper, The Narrow Corridor by Carsten Jung and Henry Parkes sets out the flaws in the original Job Retention Bonus and is available for download at: https://www.ippr.org/research/publications/the-narrow-corridor
  2. In August IPPR published its proposals for a Job Retention Scheme replacement based on short-time working principles – a Coronavirus work-sharing scheme. The report by Clare McNeil, Carsten Jung and Dean Hochlaf is available to download here: https://www.ippr.org/research/publications/rescue-and-recovery
  3. IPPR is the UK’s pre-eminent progressive think tank. With more than 40 staff in offices in London, Manchester, Newcastle and Edinburgh, IPPR is Britain’s only national think tank with a truly national presence. www.ippr.org