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The Progressive Policy Think Tank

IPPR welcomes furlough reform plan proposed by Labour at TUC Conference

The think tank had previously called for such a scheme to prevent mass unemployment by encouraging part-time working

Recent IPPR research revealed that if the government removes the furlough scheme abruptly at the end of October 2 million viable jobs could be lost. The think tank has been arguing for the Job Retention Scheme to instead be extended until Spring 2021 and to be reformed to encourage people to return to work part-time.

IPPR welcomes Sir Keir Starmer’s announcement of support for a similar reform proposal whilst speaking at the TUC Conference.

Clare McNeil, IPPR Associate Director, said:

“The government is taking a huge risk in ending the Job Retention Scheme early. The economic recovery is yet to take hold and job vacancies remain stubbornly low. The warning signs are clear, with employers planning double the number of redundancies seen in the last recession.

“Mass unemployment and the long-term scarring this would result in must be avoided. Labour’s proposed furlough extension and reform plan announced today would help avoid a surge in unemployment.  

“This proposal mirrors IPPR’s call for the Job Retention Scheme to be replaced by a time-limited Work Sharing scheme. This would support the worst-affected sectors through this challenging time and encourage part-time working, ideally with an offer of training or up-skilling for workers to boost their future prospects. 

“This is the path many other countries are taking to stabilise jobs and incomes in this pandemic, while in the UK businesses and workers face huge uncertainty.”



David Wastell, Head of News and Communications: 07921 403651 [email protected]

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

Clare McNeil is available for interview


  1. IPPR proposed a similar reform in the paper, Rescue and recovery: Covid-19, jobs and income security by Clare McNeil, Carsten Jung and Dean Hochlaf. Available for download at:
  2. 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.