We are now a month away from the furlough scheme ending, to be replaced with the job support scheme and here at Keep Britain Working we wanted to find out what businesses thought about the changes announced on the 24th September, the Winter Economy Plan.
The general feeling towards the new measures announced by Rishi Sunak was that the government is not doing enough to support those in need.
A recent survey found that 48% of those asked said that they didn’t think the new measures would help to Keep Britain Working (compared with 21% who said they would). As for support for SMEs, 52% said that the government is not doing enough to help these businesses (19% said they were doing enough) and 49% felt pessimistic about their future. Only 15% could say that they are optimistic about what lies in front of them.
There is no doubt that the government faces a challenge of supporting businesses and in turn supporting workers’ livelihoods but many say they should pull away from making businesses reliant on their help, which may have led to the new measures.
Recent research from Labour show that an estimated 2.8 million workers in SMEs were furloughed and it is this group that could be particularly at risk of losing their livelihood when the new measures begin in November. Likely to be from sectors that are either unable to trade or face reduced trading conditions (including Events, Hospitality, Retail and Leisure), jobseekers will need to look across to other sectors to secure work and this may require re-skilling.
This is a challenge that millions will face and the government has moved to commit to the provision of fully funded college courses to all people over the age of 18 without an A-level or equivalent qualification. This scheme, part of the ‘lifetime skills guarantee’, will launch in April next year with a list of courses to be published next month.
Difficult decisions lie ahead for many business and how these new measures will play out remains to be seen but one thing is certain, the next few months are likely to be some of most uncertain for both business leaders and workers since March.