Fears over jobs as NHS highlights its ongoing skills shortages

A new survey shows many jobs, particularly in medium-sized businesses, could be under threat when the furlough scheme ends, while the NHS calls for urgent attention to its staffing shortages.



Forty four per cent of businesses using the furlough scheme intend to make redundancies by October, according to a new survey, as the NHS highlights staffing shortages.

A survey by the think-tank Bright Blue suggest medium-sized businesses may be most at risk with 65% saying they expect to cut jobs when the furlough scheme ends in October.

Economists fear that redundancies will start rising from next month, when companies have to start paying national insurance and pension contributions, representing 5% of employment costs.

And as figures for retail, cafes and restaurants struggle after reopening, the head of the Confederation of British Industry has signalled that getting homeworkers back to the office may be necessary to boost the economy of city centres, particularly the hospitality sector. Carolyn Fairbairn, director-general of the CBI, said: “Although we know that offices can work from home, we are increasingly hearing from firms who are saying that they have people who want to go back…Office workers going to pubs, into cafés are crucial to the economy.”

Meanwhile, a coalition of healthcare bodies including royal colleges and trade unions have called on the UK government and NHS England to resolve long-standing staffing issues in the health service and improve working conditions for doctors and nurses.

In their joint statement, the organisations said: “The remarkable dedication and efforts of health and care staff throughout the COVID-19 crisis across all staff groups have been recognised by the public and by government. We are now moving into the next phase of managing the pandemic. As organisations which represent NHS staff and employers we consider that a public commitment to tackling the long-standing NHS and care workforce problems that were evident before and which the pandemic has re-enforced in a systematic and sustained manner is the way to repay the dedication of health and care staff. Without this, the service will not be able to meet the needs of its patients.”

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