More than 6 million workers are waiting to find out how their support will continue after the end of June – in a program that costs as much as the NHS.
This comes after millions of people who are not on the leave plan, including in construction and manufacturing, were asked to return to work Wednesday in England.
Boris Johnson announced on Sunday evening that those who could not work from home would be “actively encouraged” to return to work.
Guidelines on how to keep workers safe will also be released tonight, the Prime Minister said.
He clarified the position after a major quarrel over when workers should return. Johnson initially said people should return to work after “this week” – which would lead to chaotic scenes on public transportation this morning.
The Prime Minister has warned all returning workers to avoid public transportation and to walk, cycle or drive – but unions warn that many have no other option.
Under the groundbreaking commissioning program, 6.3 million people have gone to 80% of their state-paid wages.
This support – worth up to £ 2,500 per month for those unable to work – is currently expiring at the end of June and will be “cut”.
The Prime Minister said that Chancellor Rishi Sunak will take stock of the project. The time, format and subject have yet to be confirmed.
Boris Johnson’s plan to ease foreclosure
Today’s roadmap for easing the Covid-19 lockout warns, “These measures are extremely expensive and cannot be sustained for an extended period.
“As the UK adjusts the current restrictions, the government will also have to suspend economic support while people are back at work. “
Chancellor Rishi Sunak insisted that there would be no “cliff end” in the leave plan.
But reports suggest that support will be cut from 80% to 60% – raising alarms among workers and unions.
Most workers did not choose to be put on leave and were put up against their will by the bosses.
Lib MP MP Layla Moran warned today that there needs to be clarity before Friday’s deadline.
If clarity does not come by then, she said, many companies could start the process of laying off workers.
She said, “The government must, within the next 24 to 48 hours, present its plan for the leave program.
“I suggest that they keep it in place until September, especially for the tourism and hospitality industries.
“They should also introduce flexibility, allowing companies to pay part-time hours when appropriate, with the government supplementing the rest. “
Downing Street has made it clear that it will “continue to monitor it” and extend it if necessary. Boris Johnson’s spokesperson said on April 24, “We intend to support workers and businesses.”
But speaking to The Observer, business leaders have urged the government to announce a “flexible” extension now to keep businesses safe.
Alan Lockey of the RSA think tank warned that removing the plug could see a return to 1930s levels when unemployment hit 3 million.
He told the newspaper, “It is estimated that 27% of the entire workforce is on leave, with more than 80% of workers in the hospitality industry affected.
“If these people were laid off, the unemployment rate would reach levels never seen since the Great Depression.”
Meanwhile, the chancellor faces anger at his refusal to close a loophole for new entrants to the leave plan.
Last month, Mr. Sunak gave in to pressure and extended the deadline from February 28 to March 19.
But tens of thousands of people who started a new job in March still don’t qualify – because their first pay day must have been before March 19.
More than 4,000 people, including Greater Manchester Mayor Andy Burnham and Labor and SNP MPs, signed an open letter from the New Starter Justice campaign calling for the loophole to be closed.
A spokesperson for the Treasury said: “The Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme protects jobs and businesses during this crisis and has already supported millions of workers across the UK.
“Future decisions about the program will take into account the broader context of the measures in place, as well as the public health response.
“We have been clear that there will be no cliff and people will be reintegrated into work in a measured way. “