OBR predicts 4 million unemployed – as Furlough scheme begins winding down

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PCS members on strike fighting for their jobs at Tate Nodern – 313 workers at Tate galleries were sacked before the furlough ended

AS OF YESTERDAY the Tory government’s contribution to furloughed workers’ wages was cut, marking the beginning of the end of the scheme – with the Office for Budget for Responsibility (OBR) predicting as many as four million will now become unemployed within months.

Yesterday was also the deadline for some firms to issue redundancy notices before the furlough scheme ends on 31 October.

The arbitration body ACAS produced a new study showing one in three bosses are set to sack workers in the next three months.

Labour claims that as a result of the government’s ‘flawed’ support, almost three million people working for small businesses are at risk of losing their jobs.

New analysis from the Labour Party says that at the start of September an estimated 2.8 million workers in small and medium size firms (SMEs) were furloughed under the current Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme (CJRS).

Tory Chancellor Rishi Sunak’s ‘Winter Economic Plan’ will fail, the GMB union said yesterday.

John Phillips, GMB Acting General Secretary, said: ‘Millions of jobs are at risk. Rishi Sunak’s Winter Economic Plan doesn’t even come close to addressing the scale of the challenge ahead.

‘Vast swathes of industries – which are sustainable in the longer-term – have been declared unviable by this Chancellor, while the support available for those jobs he wants to save isn’t enough.

‘He’s risking a bonfire of jobs and living standards as we head into the winter months.

‘We’ve had a decade of underinvestment in our economy. For it to bounce back as quickly as possible, we need proper support for businesses to get through the worst of this crisis, investment in infrastructure; training opportunities in sustainable jobs and industries – not just to protect the jobs we have but to create new jobs and a new economy.

‘We should never forget that politicians didn’t hesitate to bail out the banks.

‘This time it’s the workers of this country that need a bailout.’