The end of furlough - reaction from small businesses

ended 27. September 2021

On Thursday, the Government's £70bn furlough support scheme came to an end.

We sought the views of a selection of small business owners around the UK about whether now is the correct time to remove the support package and what might happen in the months ahead.

8 responses from the Newspage community

Star Quote
"Now is absolutely the right time for furlough to end. We have to get a real view of how the economy is faring and what will happen to it post-furlough. As small businesses, we have had long enough to reform, strategise and decide how to manage after furlough so it is time to stand on our own two feet. We have to pay the immense bill accrued during the pandemic and we need to understand what this will look like in a real-world economy."
Star Quote
"The time has come for the UK economy to put its big girl pants on. We are ready for the end of furlough. Recruitment of staff has plagued companies like mine in the hospitality industry during the past six months, so the end of furlough will hopefully alleviate some of this pressure."
Star Quote
"I worry the UK economy will experience a huge shock when the furlough scheme ends. Although 1m job vacancies mean the economy looks in great shape, the 1.3m people currently furloughed will be in other sectors with different skills. So, while a furloughed theatre actor might be able to play the part of a lorry driver on stage, they won't have an HGV licence and can't deliver fuel to a petrol station this weekend. The disconnect between the jobs going and skills required to do them could prove significant."
"We are seeing significantly fewer redundancies among our SME clients as we glidepath to the end of furlough. This is in stark contrast to August last year when it was a bit of a bloodbath. The turning point was when the Chancellor significantly extended the furlough scheme prior to Christmas, giving businesses the ability to plan based on fact and not guesswork. The key issue we are seeing for SMEs now is cashflow, as for many businesses reserves have become depleted due to the pandemic."
"With a record number of vacancies, any decision to extend furlough would be nonsensical at this point. Yes, there are still many people on furlough but if their employers have carried on for 18 months without them, perhaps their job isn’t going to be around for the long haul anyway, as sad as that may be."
"A longer term concern for the end of furlough is for mortgage holders; those who have relied on government support to pay the bills could become the next generation of mortgage prisoners. Rather than seek advice from advisers, there is a real worry that these people will simply move onto their lender's standard variable rate at the end of their payment term rather than seeking a new deal. While lenders look likely to profit from this, it's imperative that these borrowers talk to a qualified adviser to get onto the right deal for their circumstances - but also for government and the regulator to take action to protect the most vulnerable from even more financial pain beyond their control."
"As scary as the removal of this economic safety net is, I feel it's time we try to rebuild. I've been exceptionally lucky to have been able to take my staff off furlough already thanks to a summer of staycations and outstanding support from my customers."
"It is time for furlough to stop. Many organisations have been abusing this system, and it is right that it stops, and those that have taken advantage of it begin to repay the money to which they were not entitled. I also hope the Government has considered the additional pressure HMRC is going to be under to recoup these losses and does not expect an already stretched department to deal with this."