Millions of workers were able to keep their jobs over the pandemic due to the government’s Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme (CJRS). The scheme is ending 30 September.

At a cost of around £70 billion, the wages of more than 11 million people were subsidised for at least some of the scheme’s duration.

At the end of September, almost one million people are still on the CJRS. There is now uncertainty around whether these people will maintain their jobs when the scheme ends.

Economists say there is likely to be a rise in unemployment due to new redundancies, despite the fact that some may be able to find work in recovering sectors such as travel and hospitality.

The Federation of Small Businesses (FSB) said the end of the furlough scheme, the scrapping of the small employer sick pay rebate and the closure of the government’s apprenticeship incentive scheme will only add pressure on companies.

Mike Cherry, the FSB’s National Chair, said: ‘It’s potentially a dangerous moment. As the weather turns colder, so too will the operating environment for many firms. With recent economic growth numbers having fallen below expectations, the upcoming festive season may not provide as much of a boost as hoped to many small businesses’ bottom lines.’

“The majority of people who claimed the CJRS during the pandemic have now returned to work. There is however a significant number of people who still benefitted from the scheme up until its closure. It is likely that a proportion of these people will face redundancy, however there are many businesses who are recovering and looking for new staff.”

Nigel Holland