Responding to the Chancellor’s statement in the House of Commons, announcing that the furlough scheme will be extended, Jonathan Geldart, Director General of the Institute of Directors, said:
“Extending furlough is the right call from the Chancellor. This will give directors much greater confidence about their ability to keep staff on board through the Winter.
“While the Treasury had improved the Jobs Support Scheme, furlough is a known quantity. To support as many jobs as possible through the crisis, consistency and clarity is vital. Businesses need the ability to plan ahead, with cashflow being critical through the first quarter of 2021 particularly in light of potential Brexit impacts. The more information government can provide on support for the rest of year, the better position organisations will be in.
“The increase in self-employment support is also welcome. However, while the Government has extended some measures, it is still failing to fix major gaps in the support. Many self-employed, including small company directors, continue to be left out in the cold. Grant funding through local authorities could help address this issue, otherwise those missing out will face a harsh Winter.
“It’s clear that the Government needs to now reinstate and extend insolvency protections to prevent company collapses. The Treasury should also work with banks to ensure that loans reach the front line. Finally, the Chancellor should look to marry defensive measures like the furlough with policies to get firms on the front foot, encouraging job creation and investment through the tax system.
“The response to the pandemic has highlighted some tensions in our devolution set-up. It’s paramount that businesses aren’t caught in the crossfire of political negotiations over coronavirus support. The onus is on all sides to work constructively moving forward.”