Furlough warning as ‘dangerous complacency’ could leave Britons at risk

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Furlough has provided immense amounts of support to those who may have otherwise lost their job throughout the pandemic. The scheme offered to cover workers’ wages up to 80 percent of their standard pay, to assist businesses hard up due to the outbreak and subsequent restrictions. While the scheme has been extended until September, from tomorrow onwards the Government is tapering the support it provides.

It will drop its support to 70 percent, and then to 60 percent in August and September, with employers forced to take on more of a financial responsibility.

But according to new research, optimism surrounding the rate at which the UK economy is recovering may be overstretched.

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The Resolution Foundation has asserted the labour market remains “lukewarm rather than hot” and that certain issues still remain.

This includes the fact that total hours worked remain significantly below pre-crisis levels, and jobs remain relatively easy to fill.

READ MORE: TV Licence fee to be ‘reconsidered’ as Britons call for referendum

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This, the Foundation has said, is similar to a fall noted within the height of the recession of the early 1990s.

Although the labour market is recovering, it is doing so from an “exceptionally weak starting point” meaning cautious optimism must be exercised.

Many have expressed concern at the gradual withdrawal of furlough and what this could mean for jobs.

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With many still a part of the scheme, additional financial responsibilities could be too much for some companies to bear, leading to redundancies. 

“It’s particularly welcome to see so many furloughed staff back working again.

“But these encouraging signs risk breeding dangerous complacency, as people over-play the health of the labour market, and under-play risks that still lie ahead.

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“A recovering labour market is not the same as a recovered one. Labour shortages aren’t a huge problem, and there is no real evidence of a new pay boom.

“Instead, these things are part of the bumpy ride that emerging from a pandemic inevitably involves.”

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