Yesterday’s ending of the UK furlough scheme is a litmus test for the economic and employment state of the nation and an opportunity for business owners to help move the economy forward, advises Richard Osborne, founder of UKBF (UK Business Forums).
The UK must brace itself for a new wave of business closures and unemployment warns Osborne, however, it is a launchpad for Government and business leaders to support the growth and development of the next generation of small businesses that will help take the economy forward.
Richard Osborne, founder of UKBF (UK Business Forums), says: “The furlough scheme has been a lifeline for thousands of small businesses for the past 18 months. Unemployment figures for October are, in no doubt, going to be significant. Many small businesses will now fold and there will be substantial redundancies across the UK – but it is important that this is seized as an opportunity for development and growth.”
The UK furlough scheme, which has been in place since March 2020, has paid the wages of nearly 12 million workers during the coronavirus pandemic, while thousands of businesses were forced to close down or temporarily halt productivity. The cessation of the furlough scheme will now force employers to either resume wage payments for all their staff or make redundancies.
Richard Osborne continues, “The glimmer of hope is that the economy appears to be bouncing back better than I expected to see. If that continues, the impact on unemployment may be somewhat reduced. What is vital, is that once we know the true lay-of-the-land, the Government does not once again try to just ‘plug the gaps’. It must focus on building back better and ensure that support for small and micro business owners is not forgotten or swept under the carpet – as we have seen to be the case time and time again”.