Job Retention Scheme extension essential, say manufacturers

Posted on 7 Sep 2020 by Tom Lane

UK manufacturers are overwhelmingly in favour of extending the government’s Job Retention Scheme, which is currently due to close on 31 October 2020.

Make UK’s latest Manufacturing Monitor shows strong support for a Job Retention Scheme extension, with almost two-thirds of companies (62%) either agreeing or strongly agreeing with the proposal.

The aerospace and automotive sectors are those most in need of an extension, according to the survey.

Both aerospace and automotive are at the cutting-edge of manufacturing, deploying advanced technologies which will be vital to the future growth of the UK economy and for creating highly-skilled, well-paid jobs across the country.

Recent analysis from Make UK highlights that these two sectors are the largest investors in research and development (R&D), accounting for more than two-thirds of the UK’s total business spend (36.4%) – worth £5.9bn to the economy.

However, automotive and aerospace are among the sectors hit hardest by the pandemic with many job losses already announced and output forecast to fall by 33% (£4.6bn loss in value) and 14% (£1.1bn) respectively.

Make UK believes that a Job Retention Scheme extension may help avoid a potential second wave of redundancies which the survey indicates are in the pipeline.

More than two-fifths of companies (42.4%) said that they have already made redundancies; while almost two-thirds saying they either intend to announce them in the next six moths (30.2%) or may have to (35.6%).

Chief Executive of Make UK, Stephen Phipson commented: “The protection of key skills should be a strategic national priority as this will be the first building block in getting the economy up and running.

“Ensuring that those sectors which are at the forefront of technology and will provide the growth sectors and high skill jobs in recovery should receive the greatest support possible.”

Phipson noted: “Failure to do so will leave us out of step with our major competitors and risk a loss of key skills when we can least afford to do so.”

Similar retention schemes in Belgium and Germany have already been extended to the end of the year and the end of 2021, respectively.

The Australian and French governments have also decided to extend or launch their versions of the scheme into next year.

*Header image courtesy of Shutterstock