The Confederation of British Industry (CBI) has called for the furlough scheme to be extended before Chancellor Rishi Sunak announces the Budget in March.

The CBI, an organisation which represents 190,000 businesses in the UK, has called for the Chancellor to extend the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme (also known as the furlough scheme).

The organisation has stated that businesses cannot afford to wait six weeks to receive financial support from the Government and, resultingly, has urged the Chancellor to announce an extension of the furlough scheme prior to the Budget.

In the letter, the CBI has stated that it wishes to see the furlough scheme extended until the end of June, extending past the original deadline of April. It also asked Mr. Sunak to commit to targeted support thereafter to give businesses the support they need to protect jobs.

Oher measures the group has called for include lengthening repayment periods for existing VAT deferrals until June 2021 at the earliest and extending business rates holiday for an additional three months, at the least.

Laying out some further recommendations for the Budget, the CBI urge the incentivisation of greater business investment in retraining and upskilling.

It states that this can be achieved through evolving the Apprenticeship Levy into a flexible Skills and Training levy which would unlock business investment  in high-quality accredited training.

It further states that transforming Job Centres into ‘Jobs and Skills Hubs’ would allow people to retrain and hone in on upskilling.

Tony Danker, CBI Director-General, said:

The Budget comes at a crucial time for the UK. The Government’s support from the very start of this crisis has protected many jobs and livelihoods, and progress on the vaccine rollout brings real cause for optimism.

But almost a year of disrupted demand and extensive restrictions to company operations is taking its toll. Staff morale has taken a hit. And business resilience has hit a sobering new low.

Many tough decisions for business owners on jobs, or even whether to carry on, will be made in the next few weeks. If the Government plans to continue its support then I urge them to take action before the Budget which is still more than six weeks away.

The rule of thumb must be that business support remains in parallel to restrictions and that those measures do not come to a sudden stop, but tail off over time. Just as the lifting of restrictions will be gradual, so must changes to the Government’s sterling support to businesses.





Monica Sharma is an English Literature graduate from the University of Warwick. As Editor for HRreview, her particular interests in HR include issues concerning diversity, employment law and wellbeing in the workplace. Alongside this, she has written for student publications in both England and Canada. Monica has also presented her academic work concerning the relationship between legal systems, sexual harassment and racism at a university conference at the University of Western Ontario, Canada.