Only 43% of businesses plan to claim £1,000 furlough bonus

Less than half of businesses are interested in taking up the £1,000 furlough bonus scheme announced by Rishi Sunak in the Summer Statement

New figures reveal that almost half of businesses aren’t going to take up the £1,000 furlough bonus scheme.

The latest British Chamber of Commerce (BCC) Coronavirus Business Tracker was carried out around two weeks after the Chancellor’s Summer Statement, gathering responses from over 500 companies.

The intention of the scheme is to give employers confidence in retaining and hiring employees. Plans also include a subsidy to cover some of the pay for young people and grants for apprenticeships and trainees.

Even fewer businesses want to take part in these other schemes. A substantial 56 per cent of businesses said they didn’t intend on using the Kickstart scheme, a further 31 per cent hadn’t even heard of the scheme and 8 per cent want to use it but are not eligible.

Measures are insufficient in protecting jobs with almost a third of businesses expecting to cut workforces in the next three months, according to the BCC. Some firms say the coverage from the bonus scheme isn’t worthwhile as it’ll still be too costly to bring employees back.

Over half of firms (55 per cent) have reported a slight or significant decrease in their cash flow since June 2020. Another 24 per cent and 25 per cent respectively said loan and grant schemes had improved their cash flow situation, showing that a number of businesses are still reliant on them.

Commenting on the findings, BCC co-executive director, Claire Walker, said:

“Expected usage of schemes announced in the Summer Statement is relatively low, indicating they do not provide the right kind of support for many businesses at this critical time and a rethink is needed.

“With confidence and demand not returning at the scale firms need, the Government must take radical steps to slash the tax burden around employment to help companies pay valued staff. A major boost to the Employment Allowance, and an increase in the threshold for employers’ National Insurance contributions are needed now if he wants to help viable companies save jobs as the furlough scheme comes to an end.”

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Rishi Sunak Summer Statement what it means for small business

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Anna Jordan

Anna is Senior Reporter, covering topics affecting SMEs such as grant funding, managing employees and the day-to-day running of a business.

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