Leading business groups have warned the Government that the UK could face a second wave of job cuts if the furlough scheme is not extended.

Manufacturing body Make UK is among the groups calling for an extension, amid fears of an overall slower economic recovery.

It believes that the sectors hit hardest by the recent Coronavirus pandemic should be able to make use of the popular job retention scheme in order to save jobs.

Make UK says a survey of more than 200 manufacturing firms found that 60% wanted the scheme extended for industries including aerospace and automotive manufacturing.

Another 25% said it should continue in the event of further lockdowns or second wave of infections.

The Confederation of British Industry (CBI) has also added its voice to the debate, warning that the UK is facing a perilous cliff edge.

Make UK chief executive Stephen Phipson said: “The protection of key skills should be a strategic national priority as this will be the first building block in getting the economy up and running.

“The starting point for this should be an extension of the Job Retention Scheme to those sectors which are not just our most important but who have been hit hardest.

“Failure to do so will leave us out of step with our major competitors and risk a loss of key skills when we can least afford to do so.”

Businesses and employers throughout Calderdale have made use of the furlough scheme during recent months, although many self-employed people and sole traders have been ineligible to receive support.

Prime Minister Boris Johnson has stated that the scheme will not be extended due to fears that it would serve only to keep the nation “in suspended animation”.

And the Government has instead turned its attention to getting people back into offices and back to broader normality as the UK prepares for what could be its biggest ever recession.

The furlough scheme enabled companies to place workers on leave and receive funding to pay 80% of their monthly salary, up to a maximum of £2,500.

Local businesses were initially able to claim this support from Government, but must now also make a contribution to the cost.

The scheme at large is scheduled to end on 31 October, with Bank of England bosses on record as being in support of the decision.

The changes are likely to have a big impact locally, with many of our region’s businesses and employers making use of the scheme.

Are you a small business welcoming staff back to work? Do you have some tough decisions to make about the future?

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