Daily Express

Boris: I’ll pro­tect jobs when fur­lough ends

- By Mar­tyn Brown Se­nior Po­lit­i­cal Cor­re­spon­dent Business · Finance · UK News · Boris Johnson · United Kingdom · Bank of England · England · Monetary Policy Committee · Screwfix Direct Ltd.

BORIS John­son has promised he will con­tinue to pro­tect work­ers when the fur­lough scheme ends next month.

The Prime Min­is­ter vowed to shore up busi­nesses and cre­ate more jobs as the Covid resur­gence con­tin­ues to bite.

In­sist­ing he will keep the econ­omy mov­ing, Mr John­son pledged the Gov­ern­ment will con­tinue to “put its arms around” work­ers through­out the eco­nomic tur­moil ahead.

He told MPs: “Our ob­jec­tive is to keep busi­nesses go­ing and to keep the econ­omy mov­ing as much as we can.

“We will con­tinue to send that sup­port through­out the whole of the UK, to put our arms around the whole of the work­force of the UK and to pro­tect jobs and liveli­hoods.

“But what we also want to see is those busi­nesses con­tin­u­ing and jobs be­ing cre­ated.”

Rapid

Fig­ures re­leased yes­ter­day showed the Gov­ern­ment’s five sup­port schemes have paid out more than £ 110bil­lion since they started in May.

The bounce- back loan scheme, which pro­vides cash for small busi­nesses, has so far lent £ 38bil­lion.

The Coro­n­avirus Busi­ness In­ter­rup­tion Loan Scheme ( CBILS) and its equiv­a­lent for larger com­pa­nies called CLBILS has paid out £ 15.45bil­lion and £ 3.84bil­lion.

Mean­while, the Gov­ern­ment has also paid £ 39.3bil­lion to 9.6 mil­lion peo­ple in fur­lough cash and £ 13.4bil­lion to self- em­ployed peo­ple.

The DIY group be­hind B& Q and Screw­fix has said it in­tends to re­turn £ 23mil­lion of fur­lough pay to the Gov­ern­ment af­ter UK sales and prof­its climbed dur­ing the pan­demic.

Sales rose 3.7 per cent at King­fisher’s UK busi­ness in the six months to July 31 – de­spite sev­eral weeks dur­ing which stores were closed or only par­tially open – as fam­i­lies snapped up gar­den and dec­o­rat­ing ma­te­ri­als to im­prove homes.

Re­tail prof­its in the UK rose more than 47 per cent to £ 411mil­lion as the com­pany ben­e­fited from £ 45mil­lion in busi­ness rates re­lief and cut spend­ing on non- es­sen­tial store main­te­nance, mar­ket­ing and IT. Both Mr John­son and Chan­cel­lor Rishi Su­nak have come un­der mount­ing pres­sure to ex­tend the fur­lough scheme beyond the Oc­to­ber 31 cut- off.

Ex­perts have warned it will lead to a “cliff- edge” of re­dun­dan­cies, caus­ing mass un­em­ploy­ment.

Mean­while, Bank of Eng­land gover­nor An­drew Bai­ley has warned the surge in Covid- 19 cases threat­ens the out­look for the UK econ­omy.

But he stressed pol­i­cy­mak­ers will do “ev­ery­thing we can” to sup­port house­holds and busi­nesses. Speak­ing on a Bri­tish Cham­bers of Com­merce web fo­rum, Mr Bai­ley cau­tioned over “hard yards ahead” for the econ­omy with a sec­ond wave of coro­n­avirus in­fec­tions.

He said the rapid rise of cases “re­in­force the down­side risks” to the econ­omy as he laid bare wor­ries over un­em­ploy­ment that is ris­ing faster than shown in of­fi­cial data and long- term scar­ring from the cri­sis.

He said: “The lat­est news, that we are see­ing a very un­for­tu­nate, faster re­turn of Covid- 19 is ex­tremely dif­fi­cult

news for all of us and the whole coun­try. That does re­in­force the down­side risks we have in our fore­casts.

“The Bank of Eng­land will do ev­ery­thing we can do within our re­mit and pow­ers to sup­port the busi­nesses and peo­ple of this coun­try.”

Mr Bai­ley said now was the time to “stop and re­think” the fur­lough sup­port scheme for work­ers in favour of a more tar­geted ap­proach.

But he said he did not want to “tie the Chan­cel­lor’s hands”, adding “the world is chang­ing rapidly around us”. He also played down the prospect of the UK im­mi­nently slash­ing in­ter­est rates into neg­a­tive ter­ri­tory for the first time in his­tory, in­sist­ing the Bank just needed to make sure it could do so if needed.

Spec­u­la­tion over be­low- zero rates mounted last week af­ter min­utes of its lat­est Mon­e­tary Pol­icy Com­mit­tee meet­ing re­vealed the Bank was look­ing at how neg­a­tive rates could be put into prac­tice.

 ??  ?? Warn­ing... Bank chief An­drew Bai­ley
Warn­ing... Bank chief An­drew Bai­ley

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