THE Government’s furlough scheme WON’T be extended, but a new package of support could be on the cards, the Chancellor hinted today.
Rishi Sunak gave the Cabinet an update on the economy today as the Government tries to grapple with spiralling job cuts.
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Mr Sunak told the Cabinet today the furlough scheme had been the right thing to roll out to deal with the economic crisis during lockdown, but it can’t be extended as the nation recovers.
He said: “We cannot lose sight of the fact the significant support we have put in place already to help people through this crisis – which was absolutely the right thing to do – has come at a cost.”
But he hinted that the Treasury is looking at a new raft of measures to ensure people aren’t left struggling to make ends meet.
The Chancellor said: “Unemployment – and importantly helping people get back into, or finding new work – is my number one priority.
“Indefinetely keeping people out of work is not the answer.
“But rest assured we will be creative in order to find ways of effectively helping people.”
He added that there were hopeful signs of Britain’s economy “ticking up”, but he warned it was nowhere near pre-pandemic levels.
He said: “Our greatest currency as an economy is confidence.
“We are an economy driven by consumer spending, so consumer confidence is crucial in driving our recovery and we should be doing everything we can to boost that.”
It comes as new ONS numbers show 695,000 people are out of work since March.
The Office for National Statistics (ONS) said the unemployment rate increased to 4.1 per cent in the three months to July from 3.9 per cent last quarter.
Taking into account August’s figures, another 36,000 jobs fell off payrolls last month as the coronavirus crisis continued to impact the labour market.
But August’s numbers are based on a “flash estimate” using early data and could still change.
The ONS said those aged between 16 and 24 were especially badly hit compared to other age groups.
The Government has already unveiled their kickstart scheme aimed at getting hundreds of thousands of unemployed young people into work.
Businesses forced to close in local lockdown areas have also been given an extra boost and are able to claim £1,500 grants every three weeks.
The furlough scheme started being wound down in August, with employers asked to make bigger contributions until the end of October, when the program will end altogether.