Written by: Keith Tully
The manufacturers trade body Make UK has called on the government to extend its furlough scheme to provide further support to certain employers within its industry.
According to the organisation, extending the Coronavirus Jobs Retention Scheme (CJRS) is crucial if British manufacturers are to maintain their international competitiveness and keep some of their most skilled workers in place.
Indeed, Make UK is convinced that failing to sufficiently support manufacturers through the furlough scheme could see the UK being left “in the slow lane” as countries across the globe work to recover from the economic downturn brought about by the coronavirus pandemic.
Industrial sectors deemed to be “critical” or strategically important for the country and the economy should be prioritised and supported most through the CJRS in the coming months, the trade body has said.
The CJRS is currently scheduled to close at the end of October, having helped cover the costs of wages for furloughed workers across industries since March this year.
More than two fifths of manufacturing companies polled by Make UK said they had made redundancies recently, while a further 30 per cent said they were intending to do so within the next six months.
Among Make UK’s concerns currently is the expectation that the closure of the CJRS will lead to a very sizable second wave of redundancies within the manufacturing sector.
The aerospace and automotive sectors are highlighted as being among those most in need of further government support.
“Ensuring that those sectors which are at the forefront of technology and will provide the growth sectors and high skill jobs in recovery should receive the greatest support possible,” said Stephen Phipson, Make UK chief executive.
“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.”
Make UK’s recent surveys revealed widespread expectations of job losses among manufacturers but there are also some indications of a post-Covid recovery gathering strength.
Slightly less than a fifth of survey respondents told the trade body they were back up to full operating capacity and a further 18 per cent said they’re working at between three-quarters and 100 per cent of their full capacity.
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