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about 2 months ago by Helen Doughty

COVID-19 | HALF of firms will Furlough staff, report states

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Whitbread, owner of the Premier Inn chain, British Airways and the Evening Standard are among the latest names to announce that, due to the devastating financial ramifications of the current COVID-19 coronavirus pandemic and the effect that this illness is having on business, they will be putting staff on furlough – the current scheme, revealed by the Government in March which allows businesses to put staff on indefinite sabbatical whilst receiving 80% of pay from the Government.

And these businesses are not alone; according to the British Chamber of Commerce (BCC), nearly half of all UK-based firms will furlough around 50% of their workforce over the next week.

According to the latest research released by the BCC, which polled its members to discover the state of play for many UK businesses, 44% of businesses will temporarily halt all activities for half of their workforces in an effort to wait out coronavirus’ effects on the global economy.

Businesses are struggling, with the majority of companies reporting a significant decrease in their revenue from both the UK and overseas. The BCC report states that 18% of businesses currently have less than a month's worth of cash in reserve, while 44% reported only one to three months' worth of cash in reserve. Only six per cent of respondents reported to have more than 12 months’ cash in reserve.

Director General for the BCC, Dr Adam Marshall, told Sky News: "The coronavirus pandemic has taken a heavy toll on business and economic activity across the UK. While businesses have welcomed the unprecedented size and scope of the government support packages, our findings highlight the urgent need for that support to reach businesses on the ground as soon as possible. The majority of firms cannot wait weeks or months for help to arrive.”

“There is no escaping the challenge that is facing UK businesses and many are finding ways to contribute to the national effort. Chambers and its members are working together to play their part, including gathering unused PPE equipment from local businesses and delivering them to the NHS," he said.

"I've no doubt we will see further examples of resilience and innovation – the hallmarks of the UK business community – in the coming weeks and months."