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Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme

Treasury written question – answered on 27th April 2020.

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Photo of Tommy Sheppard Tommy Sheppard Shadow SNP Leader of the House of Commons

To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer, what assessment he has made of the potential merits of people who have been furloughed under the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme being able to continue to work on critical elements of their employers' operations not related to income generation or trading; and when he plans to respond to the letter dated 31 March 2020 from the hon. Member for Edinburgh East on that subject.

Photo of Jesse Norman Jesse Norman The Financial Secretary to the Treasury

The Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme is designed to help those who otherwise would have been made unemployed and to provide support to businesses as quickly as possible. Allowing employers to move staff to part-time and claim the difference would be contrary to the policy goal and substantially increase the risk of fraud. It is also inconsistent with public health guidance for people to stay at home. However, there is flexibility in the scheme as employers can decide how many staff to furlough, and staff can be furloughed multiple times while the scheme is in operation, provided they are furloughed for a minimum of 3 weeks.The Honourable Member will appreciate that at this unprecedented time the Government is receiving very significant volumes of correspondence. HM Treasury officials are working to ensure that all Honourable Members receive a reply to correspondence as soon as possible.

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