Sunak: Thinking of Winding Down 'Furloughing' Scheme Gradually.
Right now, many of us in the UK will be furloughed from our jobs. The furloughing scheme came into operation as Chancellor Rishi Sunak, initiated, the scheme. Just before lockdown or just after, the scheme allowed employers to retain their employees, with the government paying 80% of employees wages.
Furloughing means many workers staying at home, until such time, as the government thinks it is safe, to return, to work. The current round of furloughing will last until 30 June. Then the government will look at it again and Mr Sunak has spoken, however, of winding the scheme down, eventually.
Winding the scheme down because apparently it is costing the Treasury, as much as it costs to run, the NHS. Mr Sunak has expressed the fact that the government, cannot fund furloughed workers forever.
Mr Sunak has allayed employers fears and also their employees, by saying the ending of the retention scheme, will be done gradually. There will be, in his words, "no cliff-edge" moment. The ending will be according to, hopefully, the situation that arises as and when, as it were. Sunak must know that the sudden ending of the furloughing scheme, would place, employers and employees in confusion.
Already, sadly, many businesses have gone to the wall and many of their employees have applied for UC or Universal Credit. There is a loan scheme operated by the government that allows companies to apply (to keep their business afloat) but, some smaller companies, may not be able to afford repayments. Larger companies, on the other hand, should be okay.
Sunak, as the scheme winds down, wants to ease people back into work, gradually. However, the government and employers must work out how best to make this, come about. For example, employees no matter what industry they work in will have to wear PPE (Personal Protective Equipment). Now given, that the priority of PPE is awarded to the NHS and those in social care, where does that leave employers and employees, not in those industries?
Sir Keir Starmer of Labour and others have urged the government to extend the job retention scheme (furloughing) and understandably so. The curve might be flattening in the UK of COVID-19, but, the virus, has not been defeated or gone away. Nearly 30,000 people have died of the virus in the UK, but, the real number may be even higher than that. People from all walks of life have perished. But, it seems to be mainly the old, people with underlying illnesses, and ethnic minorities. Also, for some reason, males seem more prone to the virus, than women.
Many fear a 2nd wave of the pandemic, thus urging the government, to think seriously, about lifting the lockdown, too fast. Of course, the economy matters, to get the British economy all fired up and working again, but if the cost, is a rise in infections again, (as Japan found out) and, deaths, what then?
This situation must be handled with the utmost intelligence, dexterity and care.