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UK News

Christian CEO says extending furlough will have 'severe impact' on staff wellbeing

by Heather Preston

A Christian business owner has voiced concerns over the long term implications to staff on furlough following the four month extension of the UK's job retention scheme.

Chancellor Rishi Sunak has announced that the scheme which currently supports 7.5 million workers through the coronavirus crisis will be extended until the end of October.

On Tuesday, Sunak confirmed that employees will continue to receive 80 per cent of their monthly wages up to £2,500 from the Government.

However, businesses will be asked to start sharing the cost of the scheme from August with the aim of allowing more employees to get back to their jobs part-time.

CEO of Eden Motor Group, Graeme Potts, told Premier that he welcomes the extension and says it is essential for the future of the economy.

"Whatever happens now is storing up costs that have to be repaid in the future. But the alternative is a sustained and very severe recession, which is something that none of us want to contemplate. 

"We are going to have a very, very tough time recovering from the impact of Covid-19 and there has to be a balance between a gradual return to work from a partially supported situation, or the alternative is that employers will feel the need to make people permanently redundant. And to me, the former is far better than the latter," he said.

Although Potts believes the scheme is both beneficial and necessary, he comments that people being without work for longer will bring other complications.

"I think the implications of being out of the workplace, the social contact, the sense of self-worth and everything else are very, very severe. And frankly, I think there are going to be other impacts with those people who get used to not working. 

"When people get used to not working then the return to work may be more difficult in terms of forgetting skills, attitudes, customer service. But they have to be compared with the implications for health and everything else. That is the reason for the lockdown to start with."

Potts concluded that an attitude of prayer and understanding are needed for those remaining on the job retention scheme: "The focus of prayer for the Christian community should be that companies and their leaders will act wisely and sensitively and that the people, particularly those who live relatively isolated lives, who are missing their work environment, should be feeling valued and be brought back into the workplace. 

"We all should recognise that people react to pressures and difficulties in different ways, and to try not to take a draconian, hard view about how people struggle to get back into the workplace."

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