Fears for North East jobs as furlough scheme comes to an end

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Fears for firms as the furlough scheme ends Credit: PA

Business leaders in the region are expecting further job losses as the furlough scheme ends on Saturday.

It is feared the hospitality, arts and retails sectors will be among the hardest hit.

The North East of England Chamber of Commerce has welcomed ongoing Government help, but Rachel Anderson from the organisation says more is needed.

Chancellor Rishi Sunak created the Jobs Support Scheme as a direct replacement to furlough, and it becomes available on November 1, just as the previous scheme ends.

It is less generous than its predecessor - it pays 67% of wages for unworked hours, rather than 80% - and requires staff to work at least one day a week to be eligible.

Workers will be paid their regular wage for the hours they do work.

Chancellor of the Exchequer Rishi Sunak leaves Downing Street Credit: Aaron Chown/PA

If a place of work is forced to close due to coronavirus restrictions, staff at these firms will also be able to claim universal credit, which the government claims will top most people's wages up to around 80%.

Unlike furlough, it requires employers to contribute to payment for unworked hours.

Employers will pay staff 5% of unworked hours, while the government will pay the rest.

It's not known how many jobs in the North East were saved by the furlough scheme Credit: PA

At the peak of lockdown 282,500 jobs were furloughed in the North East, according to the TUC.

The latest estimate is that around 64,500 are still furloughed.

19 staff work at The New Sun Dial pub in South Shields and for the manager Chris Lincoln it is too soon to end the scheme.

Additional support is available for businesses affected by local lockdown restrictions which cover much of the region.

Businesses operating in areas under Tier 2 restrictions - the high alert level - can claim a grant from the government worth up to £2,100 a month.

Businesses in very high alert level areas - Tier 3 - qualify for greater government support due to the increased restrictions and can claim up to £3,000 a month.