More help for local businesses and their staff

More help for local businesses and their staff

Chancellor extends furlough scheme to end of June, and allows furloughed workers to work on farms.

Following on from yesterday’s announcement to keep the social distancing measures in place, Rishi Sunak said the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme (CJRS) would now be open until the end of June.

The scheme, which allows firms to furlough employees with the government paying cash grants of 80% of their wages up to a maximum of £2,500, was originally open for three months and backdated from the 1 March to the end of May.

The government has also confirmed that staff that are furloughed are able to supplement their income with work on farms, so long as their contract allows it. There is a drive to recruit some 70,000 people to replace the seasonal workers who normally travel from other countries to pick fruit and vegetables, but who this year are unable to come to the UK because of Covid-19 travel restrictions.

The National Farmer's Union (NFU) believes that up to 95 per cent of the usual workforce will be lost this year, with fears that fruit and veg will be left to rot without anyone to pick it.

Anyone working on a farm is a key worker and this means furloughed staff who become farm workers will be able to travel to their place of work, and once they are there they will also, where there is still space, qualify for childcare normally via local schools.

The UK’s Alliance of Ethical Labour Providers are accepting applications from people looking for work in all areas of the country from May onwards and details can be found at https://www.concordia.org.uk/feed-the-nation/