Chamber urges special measures for tourism and hospitality furlough future

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Louise Bennett, chief executive of the Coventry and Warwickshire Chamber of Commerce

THE Coventry and Warwickshire Chamber of Commerce has broadly welcomed new employment measures introduced by Chancellor Rishi Sunak – but is pushing for special consideration for the tourism and hospitality sectors.

At today, Friday’s briefing, the chancellor outlined how the Job Retention Scheme will evolve over the next four months – furloughed workers will be allowed to return part time from July and employers will have to step up contributions from August.

Chamber chief executive Louise Bennett said the changes would allow businesses to plan staff returns in a strategic way and to stagger the rise in associated costs.

“The chamber – both regionally and nationally – has been pressing for more flexibility in the Job Retention Scheme, and clearly these measures are designed to do just that.

“The fact that some workers can return part-time while still furloughed will allow of businesses to ease up their operations as, hopefully, the threat of Covid continues to subside.

“Business has really welcomed the support of government during these unprecedented times and the furloughing scheme has been a major pillar of keeping companies solvent and people in jobs.

“But whatever the government does, there are going to be some significant bumps in the road to even partial recovery and that will, I fear, come with significant job reductions in several sectors.

“We will continue to lobby for the tapering of the scheme for the tourism and hospitality sector to continue for a longer people as it has been particularly hard hit.”

The chancellor also announced further support from August for the self-employed, extending the current scheme.