NI Chamber responds to extension of the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme

12th May 2020

Commenting on the Chancellor’s announcement that the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme (furlough) will be extended to October, Ann McGregor, Chief Executive of Northern Ireland Chamber of Commerce and Industry (NI Chamber), commented:

“The extension of the Job Retention Scheme will come as a huge help and a huge relief for businesses – especially for those sectors that cannot open yet.

“The changes planned will help businesses bring their people back to work through the introduction of a part-time furlough scheme. Along with our colleagues at the British Chambers of Commerce, we will engage with the Treasury and HMRC on the detail to ensure that this gives companies the flexibility they need to reopen safely.

“NI Chamber and BDO (NI) research shows that the scheme has become a key part of wider government support for businesses in Northern Ireland, with 85% of them furloughing some or all of their staff.

“Over the coming months, the government should continue to listen to business and evolve the scheme in line with what’s happening within the business environment. Further support may yet be needed for companies who are unable to operate for an extended period, or those who face reduced capacity or demand due to ongoing restrictions.”