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Published on Tuesday, May 12, 2020

Chancellor to reveal future of Government furlough scheme today

Chancellor Rishi Sunak will reveal the future of the Government's job retention scheme later today amid calls from the travel industry, amongst others, to extend it beyond the end of June.

ABTA is also calling for the scheme to be relaxed to allow furloughed workers in the travel industry to carry out some duties, including processing holiday refunds.

Currently more than six million people nationwide are having up to 80% of their wages paid by the government while they are temporarily on leave.

Sunak has previously indicated that the scheme will have to be scaled back as it's not sustainable at its current rate, but he has promised that there will be no 'cliff edge' cut off.

Pilots' union BALPA is warning that a reduction in the JRS scheme by the Chancellor or any restrictions placed on airlines trying to restart would be terrible news for the industry which has largely been grounded by coronavirus.

BALPA General Secretary, Brian Strutton said: "Tens of thousands of aviation workers have been furloughed and rely on the JRS scheme to pay their bills and feed their families. If JRS levels are reduced it will be a bitter blow to those who have already seen their income reduced by 70%

"Airlines are running out of cash and if restrictions are placed on their ability to return to flying then the Government is plunging aviation further into a death spiral.

"Airlines, airports and workers are all saying the same - the Government has got to start helping aviation not destroying it."

Meanwhile the Government is urging people to return to work, where it is safe for them to do so.

However, both Labour and trade unions have criticised Prime Minister Boris Johnson's suggestion that non-customer-facing businesses should re-open without explaining how this can be done safely.

In his daily Downing Street briefing yesterday, Johnson said employers will need to prove they have met a new 'Covid secure' safety standard.

The Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy has released new guidance for companies on how to implement social distancing measures, which could include staggered start times, one-way systems, screens between workers and additional cleaning.

Ministers are also expected to provide information on how people can travel safely on public transport as the coronavirus lockdown begins to ease.

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