Written by: Keith Tully
A manufacturing sector trade body has called on the government to extend its furlough scheme to protect key industry jobs beyond the end of October.
Make UK has said that the Jobs Retention Scheme needs to be prolonged to prevent “highly skilled job losses in manufacturing on a scale not seen since the 1980s”.
The organisation carried out polling among its members recently and found a trend towards an escalation of redundancy planning and a sense that the prospect of a swift return to normal trading was receding.
More than half (53 per cent) of the companies surveyed said that they intend to make redundancies, which is a figure that’s been rising sharply in recent months, according to Make UK’s research.
Nearly a third (32.5 per cent) of all the businesses asked said that they plan to cut the scale of their workforces by between 11 per cent and 25 per cent.
Meanwhile, around 8 per cent of respondents indicated that they expect to make somewhere between a quarter and half of their staff redundant in the coming weeks.
In response to its own findings, Make UK has called for the government to extend its jobs retention scheme for six months beyond the end of October specifically for the automotive and aerospace industries.
The lobby group insists that doing so would put the UK’s response to the virus crisis on a par with the kind of support being given to protect manufacturing jobs in Germany, France and Italy.
“There is no disguising the fact these redundancy plans make for very painful reading,” said Stephen Phipson, Make UK’s chief executive.
“As well as the distressing personal impact on livelihoods across the UK, Industry cannot afford to lose these high value skills which will be essential to rebuilding our economy and investing in the industries of the future.”
Mr Phipson went on to say that some industries will need to be given “breathing space” by way of government support if the worst potential impacts of coronavirus are to be avoided.
He said the government should also consider taking what steps it can to boost demand for products made within the manufacturing sector in general but “in particular” in the aerospace and automotive industries.
“These sectors are vital to the future of industry and are at the forefront of developing new technologies which will be essential to the success of our economy,” he said.
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