Shadow Finance Secretary Donald Cameron has welcomed evidence that the Chancellor of the Exchequer’s decision to launch a jobs retention scheme has saved more than 370,000 Scottish jobs.
A survey, commissioned by the CIPD, the professional body for HR and people development, has found that Scottish employers have on average furloughed 58% of their employees and, in the absence of the Job Retention Scheme, would have made 34% of their workforce redundant. That equates to over 15% of all employees in Scotland.
Mr Cameron said: “In the Highlands and Islands, many businesses have taken the opportunity to furlough their workers."
“This makes it much more likely that they will have jobs to return to after the pandemic. While we tackle the health implications of Covid-19, we mustn't forget that there is a parallel economic fight going on which we must take every opportunity to win."
“The size and diversity of the UK’s economy is proving to be a real source of strength and resilience during this emergency, and it is only right that the government is using it to secure the employment prospects of so many people.”
The UK Government acted quickly and decisively to protect jobs across the UK, and we can all see how important and effective that UK-wide action has been. There can be no doubt whatsoever that Scotland has benefited massively from being part of the UK during this crisis, and it remains a great and dismaying disappointment to many business and Councils across Scotland that the SNP is still failing to pass on the full amount of money that the UK Government has made available.
The Chancellor faces several challenging decisions over the coming weeks as we try to get the economy back onto a more normal footing whilst continuing the fight against COVID-19. Balancing the necessary actions will no doubt include taking into account the views of the CIPD amongst many other organisations.
The press release from the CIPD was:
7 May 2020
374,000 Scottish jobs saved by the Job Retention Scheme
A new survey has shown the importance of the Job Retention Scheme (JRS) in Scotland, with an estimated 374,000 redundancies avoided.
The survey, commissioned by the CIPD, the professional body for HR and people development, has found that Scottish employers have on average furloughed 58% of their employees and, in the absence of the JRS, would have made 34% of their workforce redundant. That equates to over 15% of all employees in Scotland.
However, the CIPD has warned that changes to the scheme will be required to avoid permanent redundancies in the future. The same survey found that Scottish employers back the CIPD’s calls to extend the Job Retention Scheme and to make it more flexible to allow short-time working – 60% said they would find a flexible JRS useful.
The Chancellor has announced intentions to start scaling back the JRS from July but over half of employers (56%) believe an extension for a further three months, until September, would be the most helpful change in dealing with the impacts of Covid-19.
Lee Ann Panglea, Head of CIPD Scotland and Northern Ireland, commented:
“This survey very clearly shows the importance of the Government’s intervention, with over 374,000 redundancies prevented as a direct result of the Job Retention Scheme."
“That being said, to prevent permanent redundancies the UK, the Government needs to look ahead and consider changes to the support it is providing to businesses. Our survey shows Scottish employers back both an extension to the Job Retention Scheme and increased flexibility to allow some short-time working, enabling organisations to bring back workers from furlough gradually while rebuilding their business."
"This will become increasingly important as we look towards the next phase of this crisis, and will help avoid the current scheme simply becoming a waiting room for unemployment.”