The Confederation of British Metalforming (CBM) is delighted that the Chancellor has once again listened to what industry needs and announced that the furlough scheme will continue in its current form for another month, until the end of July.
It will be welcomed by all of our 200-strong members, who, in a recent survey, had feared they would have to make up to 30% of their workforce redundant if the support was taken away – this equates to about 12,000 employees.
The flexibility from August, where staff who are already furloughed can be brought back on a part-time basis, will be a massive benefit to manufacturers who continue using the scheme.
It will give them flexibility and allow them to plan for growth, whilst protecting the investment they have made over many years in training their employees and developing the skills they’ll need when operating in a post-lockdown economy.
The majority of firms will also understand the other change. From August, workers will still get at least 80% of their pay, but the cost of that will be shared between the employer and HMRC.
As long as this is fair, and is done on an incremental basis, I’m sure the vast number of manufacturers will support this. There are already existing schemes in Europe that have mechanisms in place that the Government could look at for guidance, which operate on turnover levels of the business.
The Chancellor’s action today will save many good companies and it will protect employers from been forced into very difficult decisions at a time when they and their employees are worried about their own wellbeing and that of their families.
Whilst this is positive, it’s important that it’s closely monitored and amended should the need arise to protect jobs further and to ensure businesses have the support they need whilst they navigate an economy that will slowly kick back into life.
The CBM and our members would also still like the Government to consider intervention on Trade credit insurance and to encourage banks to work closer with firms to ensure they have every chance to pass viability tests for the Coronavirus Business Interruption Loan Scheme (CBILS).
Steve Morley, President of the CBM