To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer, what assessment he has made of the potential merits of changing the Coronavirus Jobs Retention Scheme to help industries such as the steel industry that are experiencing a shortage of skilled workers to reduce the hours of their employees in preference to furlough.
The Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme is designed to help those who otherwise would have been made unemployed and provide support to businesses as quickly as possible. Allowing employers to move staff to part-time and claim the difference would have involved delay and substantially increased 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.