Dorset Chamber, the county’s leading business support organisation, has appealed to Rishi Sunak, the Chancellor of the Exchequer, to speed up the Job Retention Scheme to make sure furloughed staff receive wages at the end of April.
The Job Retention Scheme was launched on 20 March 2020 to support any staff placed on furlough during the UK lockdown, from 1 March 2020 until the end of May. However, with a survey conducted by Dorset Chamber’s parent organisation, the British Chambers of Commerce, confirming that two-thirds of companies in the UK have placed staff on furlough, concerns that the funds might not be available in time are rising.
HM Revenue & Customs has stated that it will open applications for funding during the week of 20 April 2020, and Ian Girling, Chief Executive of Dorset Chamber, has warned organisations to act quickly: “Businesses on the frontline need cash to start flowing from support schemes fast.
“I recognise that the government has faced a monumental task to put systems in place to implement the scheme and has signalled that it will be open for applications on April 20. But with April’s payday coming up, we are fast approaching a crunch point, and both the furlough scheme and CBILS emergency loan facilities need to be accelerated.”
However, he added that swift applications to the process are no guarantee of an equally swift response: “While we’ve seen a high number of firms furloughing staff in anticipation of the scheme coming online, it is still unclear whether they will start receiving funds before their payroll date. This could exacerbate the cash crisis many businesses are facing. It is vital that the Chancellor turns on the taps and makes payments to businesses as soon as possible. Any delay could mean more livelihoods under threat, more business failures, and more hardship in our communities.
“It could be an absolute disaster if the money businesses have been faithfully promised is not there in time.”
For more information about Dorset Chamber, visit their website.