Support 100 years of independent journalism.

  1. Science & Tech
  2. Coronavirus
20 April 2020updated 06 Oct 2020 9:45am

Firms should only use furlough scheme if they absolutely have to, says Dowden

By Samuel Horti

Businesses should only use the government’s newly opened coronavirus furlough scheme if they cannot afford to carry on paying staff themselves, Culture Secretary Oliver Dowden has said.

He urged businesses to “ask themselves: do they have to rely on the taxpayer?”, and said the scheme, which pays up to 80 per cent of workers’ wages if they have been temporarily laid off, is designed only to support staff who would have otherwise been made redundant.

The official website for the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme says that “it is designed to help employers whose operations have been severely affected by coronavirus (Covid-19) to retain their employees and protect the UK economy. However, all employers are eligible to claim under the scheme and the government recognises different businesses will face different impacts from coronavirus.”

Dowden, speaking to ITV this morning, was asked to comment on reports that Victoria Beckham’s fashion company was using the scheme. “I don’t know the details of her fashion business. I’m not going to comment on each one in turn, but the clear principle is: you should only be using it if you have to,” he said. 

Sign up for The New Statesman’s newsletters Tick the boxes of the newsletters you would like to receive. Quick and essential guide to domestic and global politics from the New Statesman's politics team. The New Statesman’s global affairs newsletter, every Monday and Friday. The best of the New Statesman, delivered to your inbox every weekday morning. A handy, three-minute glance at the week ahead in companies, markets, regulation and investment, landing in your inbox every Monday morning. Our weekly culture newsletter – from books and art to pop culture and memes – sent every Friday. A weekly round-up of some of the best articles featured in the most recent issue of the New Statesman, sent each Saturday. A weekly dig into the New Statesman’s archive of over 100 years of stellar and influential journalism, sent each Wednesday. Sign up to receive information regarding NS events, subscription offers & product updates.
I consent to New Statesman Media Group collecting my details provided via this form in accordance with the Privacy Policy