£1,000 bonus for companies that bring back furloughed staff

Employers are being urged to bring back furloughed workers rather than lay them off, with Chancellor Rishi Sunak announcing a £1,000 bonus for every employee kept on.

Chancellor of the Exchequer Rishi Sunak delivers a summer economic update in a statement to the House of Commons
Chancellor of the Exchequer Rishi Sunak delivers a summer economic update in a statement to the House of Commons

Companies can claim the ‘furlough bonus’ if staff are kept on in meaningful work until 31 January 2021.

Over nine million workers have been furloughed, with fears that many of them will be laid off as the government’s flagship Job Retention Scheme is wound down from August.

The Chancellor said it would be “irresponsible” to agree to opposition demands to extend the furlough scheme beyond its current end in October, saying that would give “false hope” that all jobs put on hold by the coronavirus pandemic could be saved.

“Throughout this crisis I have never been the prisoner of ideology. For me, this has never just been a question of economics, but of values,” Mr Sunak told the Commons.

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“We believe in the nobility of work. We believe in the inspiring power of opportunity. We believe in the British people’s fortitude and endurance.

“Our plan has a clear goal: to protect, support and create jobs. It will give businesses the confidence to retain and hire. To create jobs in every part of our country. To give young people a better start. To give people everywhere the opportunity of a fresh start.”

The Chancellor also confirmed the creation of a £2bn ‘kickstarter’ jobs fund, that will cover the wages of anyone aged 16-24 on Universal Credit who is hired onto a six month work placement.

Young workers - 700,000 of whom are on out of work benefits - will have the cost of 25 hours per week on the national minimum wage covered by government, with employers able to top that up.

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